2017 really hasn’t been the year Reece Oxford hoped it would be.
After a breakthrough 2015/16 campaign with the Hammers, Oxford started last season as a regular in the club’s Europa League sides before suffering an ankle injury which sidelined him until the New Year.
West Ham decided to send the teenager out on loan to Championship side Reading but he only made five appearances for the Royals as they reached the play-off final.
Lacking a defined role in the first-team, Oxford was again sent on loan this time to Bundesliga side Borussia Monchengladbach but he’s yet to make a single appearance for the club and some reports have suggested that the Hammers are unhappy with the situation and will recall him in January.
The versatile centre-back has told Sky Sports that he is fitter than ever and is ready whenever he will be called upon to make hos Monchengladbach debut.
I think I’m fitter than ever now. I’ve done pre-season with Gladbach, I feel good and ready, I’m just waiting for my opportunity. It’s patience, I’m young, watching the centre-backs ahead of me, and seeing what I can do to make me better.
I’m just ready now, ready to make my debut, and hopefully it’ll be good and I won’t look back from there.
The aim of the loan move was for Oxford to gain some match experience and return to West Ham a more rounded player, and the 18-year-old hopes to do just that.
I just hope to return to West Ham as a more experienced player, ready to play in the Premier League or any league.
As for his long-term aims, Oxford hopes to progress through the England ranks and the U20 international wants to captain his country one day.
My long-term goals are to be in the England squad, play in a World Cup and be captain for my country, I’ve always wanted to be that.
Oxford has praised the Germany experience, claiming that the football is fast and physical and training is much more intense than in England.
Germany is just a big experience, from the Championship, which is a physical league, to Germany, which is fast and quick. Germany is good for young players, they’re very strict and training is very intense. I’m not saying West Ham or Reading’s training wasn’t good, it’s just different here.
Finally, the centre-back has admitted that the whole experience has helped him grow and mature as a player and person.
It opened me up to the world. Players said I couldn’t do certain things, had to be more secretive with my life, and that you can’t be a kid anymore!
I had to be an adult, be mature and grow up really. I took that on board and I like to think I am mature now and have grown up.