Former Premier League star hails West Ham youngster as England's finest

West Ham Upton Park

Former Leicester City and Ipswich Town star James Scowcroft has backed a West Ham United youngster for the very top.

Scowcroft, who also played for England Under 21s during his career, is now a youth coach at Ipswich.

The ex Crystal Palace and Leyton Orient striker, who bagged 102 goals in his career, was present to watch West Ham's Under 21 side beat Brighton and Hove Albion' 2-0 on Monday night.

And Scowcroft was left in awe at what he witnessed from West Ham's Reece Oxford.

'The best youngster'

The teen sensation scored in the win and taking to social networking site Twitter after the game, Scowcroft said: "Seen West Ham's U21s play tonight and watched Reece Oxford play.

"Probably the best youngster this country had for a long time."

Seventeen-year-old Oxford shot to prominence on the opening day of the season with a man of the match display in a 2-0 win at Arsenal on his Premier League debut.

At 16 Oxford became West Ham's youngest ever player that day and one of the youngest to ever appear in the top flight.

He shackled Arsenal's German superstar Mesut Ozil with consummate ease in that game and the Gunners hero has gone on to be one of the players of the season.

The Hammers fought off interest from some of Europe's top clubs when they handed their young talent his first professional contract, as reported by the likes of the Express at the time.

Club and international honours beckon

Oxford has been dipped in and out since with the Hammers having a big squad and making such a fantastic start to the season.

Sitting sixth Slaven Bilic is not under any pressure to change things but Oxford is very much key to the club's future.

Seen as the heir apparent to the likes of Rio Ferdinand and even the great Bobby Moore, Oxford's maturity and ability on the pitch has belied his years.

With the Hammers moving to the Olympic Stadium in the near future many fans feel he will become the natural successor to Mark Noble as a future captain in years to come.

And international honours will not be far behind as the 6ft 4in teenager has already captained England's U16s and U17s.

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