Bilic showed real guts to play Reece Oxford, a 16-year-old midfielder, in his first Premier League game in charge of the club against a well-equipped Arsenal side.
Some fans may have been rubbing their eyes in disbelief because of how well the Gunners can control games through the middle, but Redknapp feels it was a gamble by Bilic which paid off.
“What a bold managerial decision to play a 16-year-old kid. He looks like he’s played there all his life. He strolled around, he never gave the ball away and he’s a very confident kid. It was a bold move to pick him and it was a great move. He couldn’t have had a better start really,” he told talkSPORT.
Confidence and momentum
For a midfielder who is so young, it would have done his confidence the world of good to see a manager so committed to offering him a chance.
It would have been very easy for Bilic to go with a more experienced option but Oxford now knows that if he works hard, conducts himself in the right way and shows patience, he’s going to get a few chances this season.
The only way for any young player to develop and become better is through the experience of playing games.
Being exposed to an Arsenal side tipped to win the title is a better experience for the player than anything he could experience in the under-21 ranks and as Redknapp suggests, Bilic deserves praise.