By support

31st Jan, 2017 | 9:17pm

Done deal: Midfielder signs after West Ham agree terms

By Matt Farr

West Ham defender Reece Oxford has joined Reading on loan until the end of the season, it was confirmed on Tuesday.

The versatile 18-year-old, who can play in midfield or at centre-back, has missed much of the campaign through injury, and Hammers boss Slaven Bilic has allowed him to join the Championship side to continue his development.

He has not featured for the West Ham first-team since the Europa League qualifier against Astra Giurgiu back in August.

West Ham confirmed the transfer on their official Twitter account on Tuesday evening.

Oxford is held in high-regard by the West Ham fans, and the England U19 international has the potential to become a future Premier League star.

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He burst onto the Premier League scene in a victory over Arsenal on the opening day of last season, but his injury has seen his progress stall this term.

By linking up with Reading, not only does he have the opportunity to play regular first-team football in the Championship, but he also has the chance to learn from manager Jaap Stam – one of the top defenders in Premier League history.

Championship rivals Nottingham Forest and Scottish giants Rangers had also been in contention to sign Oxford, but Reading was his chosen destination.

Football Insider verdict

It’s disappointing that Oxford has been allowed to leave West Ham, as he could have had an important role to play for the first-team squad. However, his temporary switch to the Madejski Stadium can only do wonders for him as he continues his astonishing rise as one of England’s brightest young talents. In his absence, Bilic has managed to establish a consistent midfield and defensive unit, and it will be difficult for the youngster to establish himself as a regular in the side, despite his rise to fame. Oxford will be a big hit in the Championship, and he can help Reading in their pursuit of promotion. His versatility will continue to be utilised by manager Jaap Stam, who now has someone he can deploy in either defence or midfield, depending on his system.

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