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Forgotten wonderkid was 'better than Declan Rice' at West Ham but hasn't played a single game all season

Forgotten wonderkid was 'better than Declan Rice' at West Ham but hasn't played a single game all season

Reece Oxford left West Ham United in 2019.

A forgotten former West Ham wonderkid who almost cost Declan Rice his place at the club has not played a professional game since November 2022.

Reece Oxford was widely regarded as the standout talent in the West Ham academy.

The England youth international made a significant impact at the age of 16, announcing himself on the scene with a stellar performance for West Ham in their 2-0 win over Arsenal in 2015.

In fact, Oxford's early promise shed doubt over Rice's place at the Premier League club due to them both having similar profiles.

Speaking to The Athletic, ex-West Ham trainee Lewis Page said: "I remember having a conversation with him after dinner. Dec wasn’t sure if he was going to get a scholarship with West Ham."

Page added: "He got released by Chelsea and he was worried it was going to happen again. I was always confident he was going to get one, but at the time the club weren’t sure what was Dec’s best position.

“Reece was the main talent at centre-back and I’m not sure if the club thought Dec was good enough to play in midfield... But West Ham took the chance and it’s paid off."

However, despite the promising start, Oxford's career is yet to reach the heights that were first expected, and the 25-year-old now finds himself at Augsburg where he hasn't played a game all season.

Oxford joined Augsburg on an initial loan before making the move permanent in 2019 and has made 69 league appearances since then.

The defender has been dealing with extreme fitness issues in recent times, only playing three games last season, with his last appearance for Augsburg coming in November 2022.

Reece Oxford- Getty
Reece Oxford- Getty

The last update on Oxford came in July 2023 via Fox News.

It read: "He dealt with thigh, knee, and COVID-related issues. The defender is now seeking specialist help in London during the off-season. There is no timeline for his return due to the variety of issues and how they are slowing his recovery."

With radio silence ever since, it is probably safe to assume Oxford's return isn't imminent.

However, given the talent he displayed in the Premier League, it would be a real shame for football if he wasn't to reach the heights we all hoped.

Oxford's contract with Augsburg runs until the end of the 2024/25 season.

Featured Image Credit: Getty

Topics: West Ham United, Declan Rice, Arsenal, Chelsea, Football