Five reasons West Ham cannot afford to let this Man United-linked ace leave

It seems that for the first time in a long while, England are producing some truly talented young footballers.

The last genuinely world-changing crop we brought through were the likes of Wayne Rooney, Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard, and since then the country have seemingly struggled to turn out consistently strong young stars.

Whether it was due to billionaire owners realising that Financial Fair Play may be an issue long-term, we don’t know, but last season was monumental for many sides in bringing through some top-quality English youth… and none more so than West Ham.

Their ability to unearth Reece Oxford and bring him into the first team has been huge, but with that comes the obvious transfer speculation. Whilst the Hammers insist he won’t be sold, the likes of Manchester United continue to sniff around.

So why should West Ham do everything in their power to keep the 17-year-old? Here areFIVE reasons…

Undoubted potential

Joe Cole

Joe Cole is considered to be one of the best players to come out of West Ham’s academy, and Reece Oxford is drawing the same levels of expectation. At only 17, he has arguably 10 years to reach his peak, and having broken into the first-team already, this is exciting news for Hammers and England fans.

Flexibility

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Although listed as a defender on West Ham’s website, Oxford has the ability to move into central midfield, too, which is a massive benefit for his side. This flexibility is something modern-day teams crave and as he can do this at such a young age, it’s really exciting

A future England star

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There’s real hope Oxford can become an England star. He’s got a few years ahead of him to get to his peak, but with what he’s already proved, there’s little doubt he can join the likes of Dele Alli and Harry Kane in breaking into the first-team.

Non-stop work rate

REECE OXFORD

As we saw when he was named Man of the Match for his side in their 2-0 win over Arsenal at the start of the season, Oxford has a real engine. He ran hard and didn’t stop all game before being replaced in the 79th minute.

For such a young man to compete at that level with seasoned professionals shows true class, and it was the performance that showed the world what he could really do.

He wants to stay

Football - Charlton Athletic v West Ham United - Pre Season Friendly - The Valley - 15/16 - 25/7/15 West Ham's Reece Oxford Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Andrew Couldridge EDITORIAL USE ONLY.

Probably the biggest out of the five reasons, it’s clear that the 17-year-old wants to stay and fight for his place at West Ham. They’re a team on the up and with their move to the Olympic Stadium edging ever closer, it’s an exciting time to be an Iron.

They’re set to play in Europe and Oxford can be expected to be involved in some capacity due to the long season ahead. Whether he’d want to trade this for a place on the bench at a bigger club is yet to be seen, but his long-term future would be better at West Ham.