Oxford relishing Europa challenge

  • 17-year-old Oxford part of England squad which reached semi-finals of UEFA U19 Championship this month
  • Defender made his debut in last season’s UEFA Europa League campaign
  • First season with the senior squad saw Oxford make 12 appearances
Reece Oxford wants the use the disappointment of a semi-final exit at this summer’s UEFA U19 Championship to drive him on to more success.
Oxford and England won all three of their group games in Germany to raise the prospect of a first title at U19 level, only to suffer a 2-1 defeat to Italy at the last four stage.
France, who were defeated by England in the group phase, went on to lift the title but Oxford is using the experience as a positive.
As he returns to pre-season with West Ham United in Austria, the 17-year-old is keen to build on a breakthrough 2015/16 season which saw him make 12 first team appearances.
He said: “The boys tried their best in Germany and we won every group game. We were probably the favourites out there [when it got to the semi-finals], but sometimes the ball just doesn’t go in the net for you and the opposition is stronger on the day.
“So, hopefully we will bounce back from that and go to the U20s World Cup next year as favourites to win it.
“That’s a big aim for me now, so hopefully I can get into the squad and push on with them.
“It was good experience, playing up a year against players who are the best in their countries. It helps everyone in the team.
“I’m happy to be back here for pre-season now. 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.
“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.
“Hopefully I can do the same this summer. It would be good to be part of the squad to play in the first game at the new Stadium next week too.”