Slaven Bilic says Reece Oxford would not be fazed by Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi 2

The West Ham boss was high in praise for the 16-year-old talent.

West Ham United ran out confident winners against Arsenal today in perhaps the biggest shock of the opening weekend of the Premier League season.

Goals from Cheikhou Kouyate and Mauro Zarate did the trick as The Gunners were put in their place by Slaven Bilic’s men.

There were some great performances around the park from West Ham, but perhaps none more so than the one from 16-year-old Reece Oxford.

The teenager shackled an Arsenal midfield containing the likes of Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey and Santi Cazorla to rightfully be the man on the tip of every tongue after the game.

Slaven Bilic has been speaking about his young star after the game to Sky Sports, speaking in high praise for the player:

“Well I was thinking about it. You know people ask me ‘are you sure? 16? Only 16?’ I didn’t put him in because he is 16.

“It was a risk, and it is still going to be a risk of course because the boy is only 16. But the boy has got something and I put him in because I thought that for this kind of game I needed someone to sit in front of the back-four. To be cool and be like a third centre-half but who is good on the ball.

“I am really proud of him of course.

“Only on paper (he is 16) and he is 16 in his head. But the fact is, there are many of them of this new generation that are simply not impressed. Let’s say if we see Messi I would be more fazed than him. He is just this cool guy, or he hides it.”

Oxford certainly gave off a cool demeanour. Capable of playing in midfield or defence West Ham men in the know have been tipping him for greatness for some time now and it looks like he is going to be a future star for The Hammers.

Bilic will have to be careful to look after the lad and make sure the pressure of regular football does not get to him at this young age.

But it doesn’t sound like much fazes the lad anyway.

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch