‘I like to always beat Spurs!’

Reece Oxford gave his Mum an early Mother’s Day gift by helping West Ham United to a 1-0 Barclays Premier League win over Tottenham Hotspur.

The 17-year-old produced another mature, assured and strong display as a second-half substitute for the injured James Collins on Wednesday evening, helping to nullify Spurs’ potent attack.

As a childhood Arsenal fan, Oxford was even prouder of the performance he put on in front of his watching mother.

“It was a good game,” he began. “I was a bit surprised when I got thrown in because at half-time I got told to be ready, but that was for Angelo and not Ginge, as Angelo had a little knock but he’s fine now.

“When it happened, they were just screaming at me to get back to the bench and get ready, so I got ready and went on. The players alongside me, Angelo and Cheikhou, really helped me out.

“It was a big result for the Club and for where we are in the table. Personally, me and my Mum like to always beat Spurs!”

Amid a host of fine West Ham performances, Kouyate was truly outstanding in a role on the right side of three centre-halves – but Oxford was far from surprised by the No8’s dominant display.

“It was good from him,” he said. “He was talking to me and helping me. We were all talking to one another and I don’t think there were any shots on goal after I came on. We played well together.”

For Oxford, Wednesday was yet another illustration of the promise possessed by the England U19 defender, whose calm composure and technical ability set him apart from other players of a similar age.

For Slaven Bilic to hand the teenager another chance to shine in a high-pressure game against a Spurs side going for the Barclays Premier League title shows the faith the manager has in the youngster.

“I appreciate it. I am happy that he has faith in me to play in a Premier League game at that stage.”
Despite his outstanding talent, it is easy to forget that Oxford is not yet 18, so does he get nervous?

“I just don’t show it! No, I do get a bit nervous but I try not so show it because strikers and midfielders can feed off that. I am human!”

One man who helps to relax Oxford is match-winner Michail Antonio, who sits in the locker next to the youngster in the Home dressing room.

Having scored the winner, Antonio followed his ‘Homer Simpson’ celebration against Sunderland with a dance tribute to Fresh Prince of Bel Air character Carlton Banks.

“He sits next to me in the dressing room and he told me he was going to the Fresh Prince of Bel Air dance! I asked him what it was and he showed me!

“When he scored, I knew he was going to do it. I was just pleased he scored! He really helps me and speaks to me a lot and tells me to be patient and keep it going.”

Having risen to within a point of the top four and reached the Emirates FA Cup sixth round, what does Oxford think West Ham can achieve by the end of a memorable season, both for him personally and for the Club as a whole?

“The boys are buzzing but we’re trying not to let it get too much over the top because we’ve got a hard game against Everton this weekend.

“Hopefully we can get another win and go higher in the table and keep steady.”