Reece Oxford’s Borussia Monchengladbach side take on Bayer Leverkusen in a DFB Pokal last-16 tie on Wednesday evening and Academy Director Terry Westley has backed the centre-back to shine.
The 19-year-old has started his loan club’s last two matches – both in the Bundesliga – helping them beat Hamburg 3-1 on Friday after a 1-0 defeat to Freiburg four days earlier.
The two appearances followed 15 in which he played just a minute for Borussia, however the Academy of Football graduate looks to have broken into the German team’s starting XI and Westley is confident that is where he will remain.
He said: “Reece has hung on when he wasn’t playing and now he is beginning to show them what he is all about. He’s carried on working hard in training and he’s getting those rewards now.
“He’s made two starts on the spin and he’s set to play on Wednesday against Leverkusen for a chance to get into the quarter-finals, so it’s a big game for the team and for him.
“It shows the determination Reece has got. The perseverance that he has shown, it’s admirable and he’s settling down now and starting to reap the rewards for all that work he did in the first half of this season.”
It would take any player going to a new country time to settle, let alone a young player. Now he is reaping the rewards of his hard work
But the youngster has had to bide his time having mostly been utilised as a substitute for the club, who currently sit eighth in the Bundesliga.
And given his age and the destination of his loan deal, Westley admitted that has not been surprising.
“It would take any player going to a new country time to settle, let alone a young player,” the U23 boss continued. “Reece was 19 at the weekend. So he’s arrived there as an 18-year-old, he’s got a new language, a new place to live, on his own, and fair play to him.
“Like over here at West Ham, he’s very highly-rated there. I went over to watch the team’s match in the round before Wednesday’s tie (a 1-0 victory at Dusseldorf) and I saw Reece and met their staff.
“Everyone knows the ability he has. He’s now in the starting XI and he’ll want to continue like that. They have their Christmas break after this game but he’ll just want to keep improving and working hard.
“What he has shown is that he is able to get into that team now. He’s played for England U20s this year and that’s a continued upward curve that everyone here is very pleased with.”