Oxford tipped to lead U19s to Euros

Reece Oxford


  • England U19 manager Keith Downing says Reece Oxford’s experience will be vital
  • Young Lions face three UEFA European Championship Elite Round qualifiers over the coming days
  • Oxford appeared at 2016 tournament and previously captained U17s at 2015 Euro finals

England U19 manager Keith Downing says Reece Oxford’s experience will be vital as the Young Lions strive for qualification for the UEFA European Championship finals.

The Young Lions will tackle meet Norway, Spain and Belarus in the UEFA Elite Round Qualifiers over the next few days, with the winner of their group advancing to the tournament in Georgia this summer.

Oxford, who became West Ham United’s youngest-ever player when he debuted in July 2015, captained the U17s at the 2015 European Championship finals and has already been capped twice at U20 level. He signed a new long-term contract in December.

The 18-year-old, who is currently on loan with Championship promotion-chasers Reading, is set to captain his country again when they take to the field against the Norwegians at St George’s Park on Wednesday.

“Reece Oxford has most recently been with the U20s, but for this campaign will be a key member of the group heading into three crucial Euro qualifiers,” said Downing of the ball-playing defender, who has 30 international age-group caps in total.

“Reece will add his qualities to help bolster our chances of reaching this summer’s finals in Georgia.

“To have that flexibility across the age groups is testament to the working relationship between our national coaches as we look to maximise the talent we have at our disposal.”

Reece will add his qualities to help bolster our chances of reaching this summer’s finals in Georgia

England U19 manager Keith Downing

Reece Oxford
Oxford is part of an exciting-looking England U19 squad that also includes West Ham’s outstanding Academy goalkeeper Nathan Trott, Everton midfielder Tom Davies, Liverpool full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold and Fulham forward Ryan Sessengnon.

With that sort of talent at his disposal, former West Bromwich Albion Academy coach Downing is confident that the Young Lions can progress to the tournament for the second time in succession.

Oxford and Hammers teammate Sam Howes were part of the squad – coached by Aidy Boothroyd – which reached the semi-finals of the 2016 edition, where they won all three group matches before being defeated 2-1 by Italy.

“You get no easy games and we have got three different tests, but we’re pleased with the squad we have put together,” Downing confirmed. “It has been a six-month process.

“We just want to ensure that over the three games we give a good account of ourselves.

“We’ve got a really talented group of players and we want them to produce the same form they have been showing for their clubs.”

England U19s face Norway on Wednesday 22 March, Spain on Friday 24 March and Belarus on Monday 27 March, with all three ties taking place at St George’s Park in Staffordshire.