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Tony Cottee: Reece Oxford must leave West Ham to fulfil potential

By Will Butcher

Tony Cottee believes Reece Oxford needs to leave West Ham on loan to gain first-team experience despite signing a new four-and-a-half-year contract on Friday.

West Ham announced the deal on Oxford’s birthday, as the England Under-20s international turned 18 on Friday but Cottee was adamant that he should leave sooner rather than later.

Speaking on Sky Sports News Premier League Daily Show on Friday, former West Ham striker Cottee believes Oxford must continue his development with regular game time elsewhere.

“He needs to go elsewhere on loan and play football,” Cottee said. “Whether that is in the Premier League, or in the Championship it doesn’t matter.

“He’s got fantastic ability, he’s a brilliant talent and he’ll do great things in football. He has no experience. Let him play football, let him get some experience.”

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Oxford has made just two appearances for the Hammers this season in the Europa League qualifiers against NK Domzale and Astra Giurgiu, failing to appear since August.

With the likes of James Collins, Winston Reid and Angela Ogbonna ahead of him in the centre-back pecking order, the teenager is unlikely to break into Slaven Bilic’s first team in the near future.

Since his debut in the Europa League against Andorran side FC Lusitans, Oxford has made just 14 senior appearances with only eight of those coming from the start.

Manchester City and Manchester United have both been reportedly interested in Oxford in the past, but he is now set to remain a Hammers player.

The highly-rated defender could now leave the London Stadium on loan in January, with many Championship and Premier League clubs likely to be interested in taking him on a temporary basis.

In other West Ham news, fans have reacted on Twitter to the new deal for their teenage starlet Oxford.