If Ipswich Town plan to avoid another difficult season in the Sky Bet Championship, they must sign Reece Oxford from West Ham United.
Having joined the Hammers as a youngster at under-13 level, the 19-year-old defender progressed through the London club’s academy levels before breaking into the first team as a sixteen-year-old in the UEFA Europa League qualifying round against Andorran side Lusitanos.
With first-team chances coming at a premium, Oxford has since had to look for playing time elsewhere – moving away from London on loan-spells to Reading and more recently German Bundesliga side Borrusia Monchengladbach.
The versatile youngster, who can play in either a central midfield or defensive role, has been credited before for opting to play long ball rather than passing short – thus making him a worthy candidate to sign for Ipswich Town this summer.
Having been compared to the Premier League legend Rio Ferdinand and named as part of The Telegraph’s list of best English young prospects ahead of the 2016/17 season, the eventual new manager at Portman Road may look to bring Oxford to Suffolk.
Former Blues boss Mick McCarthy had a philosophy of bringing youth players through to the first team – with Luke Hyam, Teddy Bishop and Tyrone Mings just a few examples – but with the Tractor Boys’ managerial future still in the air, it is difficult to think about who they may sign.
More recently though, Ipswich have regularly been bringing youth prospects into their defensive department. The average age of the back-line is 23 (excluding players in-on-loan and players out-on-loan). The back-end of last term saw academy products Luke Woolfenden and Barry Cotter make an appearances and it could be that the Blues look to continue their tradition of trusting youth players in the first-team.
But one thing is for certain, Ipswich Town should definitely take a look at Reece Oxford.
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