Oxford United have strengthened their new Development Squad by signing young defenders Kenzer Lee and Matt Bevans.
Lee, 19, is a six foot two central defender who was part of the West Ham United Academy, playing in the same age group sides as former United loanee Rob Hall. Kenzer had a brief spell on loan with local club Banbury United and has impressed while on trial with the U's in pre-season.
Originally a central midfielder when playing for Essex he can also play anywhere along the back line and will join the likes of Josh Shama, Callum O'Dowda, Sam Long, David Lynn, Max Crocombe and Ty Marsh in the crop of very promising youngsters who will play in the newly established Development Squad.
They will be joined by Matt Bevans, also 19, a full back who was part of the Watford FC development squad programme but departed Gianfranco Zola’s Hornets earlier this year. He has been highly regarded by the former Head of Watford’s Academy Nick Cox saying he has a “fantastic attitude” and praising Bevans’ overall character and desire to earn himself a contract. Bevans caught a lot of people’s eye when playing for Watford in the FA Youth Cup in the 2010-2011 season.
The Development Squad, made up predominantly of players aged under 21, will play around 16-20 competitive games this season as United look to identify and nurture young players for future first team roles.
Manager Chris Wilder said:
"Both Lee and Matt came in at the start of pre-season and we think they have ability as well as desire. Earlier, in keeping with Ian Lenagan's strategy for Oxford Youth development, we took on three local lads in Callum, David and Sam who have all come through the ranks at the Club in the footsteps of Max and Tyrone. Now we have three young players from slightly further afield; Matt, Kenzer and Josh. There are some excellent players coming up in the years below at the Club and these are exciting times for Youth Development .
"So much work has gone into that particular area and that will only benefit the first team this season and beyond."