Playing Reece Oxford isn’t a risk, says West Ham academy manager Terry Westley

West Ham Upton Park

The 16-year-old became West Ham’s youngster-ever Premier League player on Sunday.

West Ham United academy boss Terry Westley has praised Reece Oxford’s mentality as one of his main strengths and suggested that playing the youngster is not a risk for Slaven Bilic.

Speaking to the club’s official website after seeing the youngster handed his Premier League bow against Arsenal, Westley said: “Reece is not fazed by who he is playing and he wants to be challenged at the very highest level. I looked at him in the tunnel and thought he was coming out to play in an Under-21 game, rather than in front of 50,000 fans.

“It all came good for him on the day. He doesn't get worried about the situation like other youngsters could.

He added: “It wasn't a risk for the manager because you eliminate that because he is a good player…. There are an awful lot of good young players in the country but the mentality has to be right and he showed that over the weekend.”

The aftermath of Sunday’s excellent victory over the Gunners has seen Oxford receive plaudits from the media, pundits and current pro’s alike – and it’s no surprise.

The composure displayed in a notoriously difficult position for young players was astounding, and the Hammers academy graduate never once looked out of place on the star-studded pitch.

Defensive midfield is an area West Ham look light in, which should mean Oxford gets his fair share of exposure this season, and his partnership alongside Mark Noble could blossom into an effective one, given their shared Hammers history.

Westley’s comments on his mentality appear evident in the way he plays the game and if utilised carefully over the coming weeks and months – the next great English talent could be about to emerge from the Hammers' famed 'Academy of Football'.

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