West Ham United winger Nathan Holland has joined League One club Oxford United on loan for the remainder of the season.
The 21-year-old will look to continue his development with valuable Football League experience, after enjoying several career landmarks in Claret and Blue this season.
Holland’s impressive form for West Ham Under-23s has led to both his first senior start – coincidentally, against the U’s at Kassam Stadium in September – and his Premier League debut at Wolverhampton Wanderers last month.
The winger will now seek to further himself with the benefits of regular senior football, linking up with manager Karl Robinson’s promotion-chasing Oxford side.
“I can’t wait,” Holland said of the opportunity. “I’ve been watching so many clips of Oxford and I’ve spoken to the gaffer there. It’s going to be tough, but I’m looking forward to playing regular men’s football and improving a lot.
“It’s been a really good season so far. Making my Premier League debut definitely topped that, and I just wanted more of that experience, so that’s what I’m going out to get.
“I look forward to challenging myself in men’s football week-in, week-out. I feel fit and strong, and I’m raring to go there, give it my all and see where it takes me.”
Academy Manager Ricky Martin added: “I think we’ve all seen what an impact Nathan has had with the U23s this season. His contribution in the attacking areas in terms of goals and assists has been very good.
“Now, we’re looking forward to seeing him continue the next part of his journey and personal development at Oxford, as he goes on and has the opportunity to play in League One for the second half of the season.”
Holland joined the Club from Everton in January 2017 and went on to make his senior Hammers debut against Bolton Wanderers later that year, prior to this season’s first-team appearances.
At U23 level, Holland has recorded 14 goals and eight assists in 18 appearances this season, helping his team to open up a four-point gap at the top of Premier League 2 Division 2.
It feels like the right thing for him to come back in the summer an even more experienced and better-rounded player
Ricky Martin, Academy Manager
His contributions also saw him named the Premier League 2 Player of the Month for November, not long after being shortlisted for October’s prize.
“Hopefully they can go on to win the title now,” Holland said of his U23 teammates. “I’ve told them just to keep going and keep doing what they’ve been doing all season."
While Martin has enjoyed seeing the winger excel at the Academy of Football, he told whufc.com that the developmental benefits of senior football are crucial to youngsters looking to progress.
“Sometimes, and certainly with certain players, they need an opportunity to play regularly,” he explained.
“What we’ve had to do is weigh up where Nathan is on his development pathway, what age he is, how many games he’s played for the U23s, and the need to ensure his environment is a challenge for him.
“Oxford are a club who have been big admirers. He played against them in the Carabao Cup and did well to stick in their thoughts, and it feels like the right thing for him to come back in the summer an even more experienced and better-rounded player.”
Holland could be in line to make his debut for fourth-placed Oxford when they host second-placed Rotherham United at Kassam Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Everyone at West Ham United would like to wish Nathan all the best for his loan at Oxford.