New Hammers star was rejected by Tottenham Hotspur

Reece Oxford has revealed he could have been on the books of Tottenham Hotspur, had they not rejected the chance to sign him in 2011.

The midfielder was a shock inclusion in the West Ham United starting XI on Sunday afternoon when, at the age of just 16 years and 236 days, became the second youngest player to appear in the history of the Premier League. Not only did he play, but the teenager put in a man of the match performance as his side stunned Arsenal with a 2-0 victory at the Emirates Stadium.

Oxford has been on the books at Upton Park since 2011 and after appearing for England at Under-16 level, went on to captain the Under-17 side at the European Championships earlier this year. He is now being dubbed as a certain full international of the future, and he could have been doing so as a Tottenham player had the White Hart Lane club not rejected the chance to sign him.

“I was at Tottenham Hotspur for a while but they did not want me and I went to West Ham United, which was the best option for me,” said the youngster. “I was a striker back then. West Ham have been giving the young players a chance who are coming through. The academy is great. They like to push players, we have a few youngsters playing in the U21s, which is good.

“Last season I was on the bench a few times, so I expected to be around the team again this season, but not starting against Arsenal. I found out on Saturday night. The manager asked me to sit and talk to everyone to help get them into position, not to let Arsenal catch us out on the break, to keep it simple and not try to do too much. It was just an honour to play. It was a dream debut for me.”

Oxford could soon be lining up for the Hammers alongside Joey Barton. The former Manchester City and Newcastle United midfielder is available on a free transfer after leaving Queens Park Rangers earlier this summer upon the expiry of his contract, and it is understood he is undergoing a medical in the capital with the view to joining Slaven Bilic’s side in the coming days.

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