From the Newsroom

MailOnline deputy sports editor and lifelong Hammer Matty Lawless assesses the performances of Reece Oxford and Diego Poyet
Mail Online deputy sports editor and lifelong Hammer Matty Lawless gives his take on the UEFA Europa League debuts given by Reece Oxford and Diego Poyet...

Reece Oxford, take a bow, son. Now we know what all the fuss was about.

On Thursday night, the England U18 captain made his long-awaited West Ham debut. He's 16.
Breaking Billy Williams' 93-year-old record, Oxford looked like he'd been around for years. In fact, he wasn't even born when Slaven Bilic last played at Upton Park.

Deployed in the middle of the park, the boy who has previously attracted the attention of Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea, eventually slotted in to his familiar role at centre-half.

Throughout, he displayed incredible maturity that bellied his youth. In the air, he was formidable. There was a terrific tenacity in his tackling. And he wasn't afraid to have a go either, desperately unlucky not to score with a rasping effort from 30 yards.

Even when the FC Lusitans players ludicrously got him booked, Oxford refused to rise to the bait, when most youngsters his age would have found the temptation too difficult to resist in front of a crowd of 35,000 fans spurring them on.

'This kid will go right to the top. The very top.' Remember when Harry Redknapp famously told supporters that about a young Frank Lampard? The same can be said about Oxford.

While he deserves all the plaudits he is getting, perspective is needed. Indeed, the hard work really does begins now. Can he establish himself as a first-team regular is the question?

To get to the very top – like Lampard, who has won three Premier League titles, four FA Cups and the Champions League – there can be no room for complacency. You have to be determined to be the best.

I've no doubt that Oxford has those qualities but this is only the beginning for the extremely talented teenager.
It that leads me nicely to Diego Poyet, meanwhile, who won't steal the headlines as such yet he deserves high praise indeed.

By his own admission, his first season at Upton Park was 'tough'. To prove himself he went out on loan to Huddersfield Town for a short stint.

On 11 June, he was part of the Uruguay side who lost on penalties to Brazil at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in New Zealand.

A week later he was back at Chadwell Heath, desperate to show new manager Bilic his desire to breakthrough into the first team this season.

How can you not be impressed by that? Poyet has a tremendous work ethic and impeccable attitude on the field. Off it, he's a bright, intelligent, multi-lingual lad. He's 20. Most 20-year-olds are probably clubbing in Magaluf this time of year. Few would have turned an eye had Poyet joined them after his international exploits.

Instead he put his fledgling career first in order to make a name for himself at Upton Park, in this historic farewell season. Total professionalism.

For me, he was last night's standout performer. Not Oxford. Not match-winner Diafro Sakho. It was Poyet. He wanted to be on the ball at every opportunity. I love that.

Sure, he was raw in places and misplaced a couple of passes when he could have perhaps carried the ball a little longer. But it was an assured display and one that would have caught the eye of his watching new manager in the stands.

Cool and composed, with an elegant touch to fit his long-flowing looks, Poyet instigated many attacking moves by getting the ball moving. By definition, he embodied the West Ham way.

The trouble is, West Ham's midfield is already uber-competitive. Mark Noble, Pedro Obiang, Dimitri Payet, Stewart Downing, Kevin Nolan and Chiekhou Kouyate are among those still to slot in. Alex Song too, potentially. Poyet, however, didn't do his chances any harm at all.

I thoroughly enjoyed watching him.

Even with a surname like his, young Diego knows he hasn't made it yet. But his a gutsy character and with that hunger and that determination, he surely will.

I just hope it's with West Ham.
The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of West Ham United.