By Dominic Toner
West Ham youngster Reece Oxford is aiming to play a part in the club’s European adventure this season as he spells out how he can secure a regular first-team spot.
The Londoners play Slovenian side NK Domzale on Thursday in the first-leg of their third round Europa League qualifier.
Slaven Bilic’s team have been rewarded with European qualifiers following their impressive seventh-placed finish in the Premier League last season.
“I’m fit, because I’ve been involved at the U19s Euros, but I just want to push on, hopefully play a couple of Europa League games and push on for the season,” Oxford told West Ham’s website. “I made my debut in the Europa League last season, then played two or three more and that helped me go on and play the first game in the Premier League.”
The 17-year-old still has three years left on his contract but has been subject to lots of transfer speculation.
The Sun reported that Manchester City were interested in the player and rivals Tottenham have also been monitoring him this summer, sending scouts to watch the defender play for England Under-19s in the European Championships.
Oxford predominantly plays as a centre-back but has the capability of filling in as a defensive-midfielder, something that makes him a valuable asses to the West Ham squad.
The youngster broke into The Hammers’ first team after starting the first game of last season against Arsenal, winning a man-of-the-match in a combative display that even linked him with a call-up to the senior England side.
He made 12 appearances in total for the East London outfit last season and starred in the England Under-19s side which made the semi-finals of this summers Championships in Germany.
In 2015, Oxford won the Dylan Tombides award, which is given to the star player of the youth academy for that year.
In other West ham team news, they have suffered an injury blow as their player is set to return from international duty.