Ups and Downs…
Easter has seen the games and events coming thick and fast at the Roman Way training ground.
As you may know, one of our specific, short-term aims here in the Academy has been to increase the number of opportunities our players have to play against some of the bigger, inner-city clubs. We firmly believe that these higher-level challenges help to prepare our players for the reality of football further up the pyramid. It was great to be able to welcome one of my former clubs, Birmingham City, to Oxford this week as they brought two under-10s teams down for a set of really competitive fixtures. Thanks to all who helped make this happen.
Having started at the club back in January, I’ve now had the time to assess where we’re at within our youth development programme. The harsh reality of professional football is that it takes unbelievable levels of commitment and desire on a daily basis to have any chance of making a career in this game. Simply having a bit of quality is nowhere near enough these days; it is your work-rate that gets you in the building and all our players and staff have to be crystal clear on the price that needs to be paid every single day here at Oxford United if they want to be part of our future.
With this in mind, I would like to thank our club captain Curtis Nelson, who reinforced the reality of what it takes with our U15 group at our recent match-day experience. Curtis was released as a schoolboy himself but has shown the level of commitment and fight required to forge out a career in this game. We have seen recently just how hard he has worked to get back fit after a major injury and for him to take the time to talk with some of our young lads over recent weeks is testament to the kind of leader he is.
Finally, it was great to see some of our U16s and U17s playing in a practice match against the first team this week. Having the chance to go up against established pros gives our lads a benchmark for where they’re at and is an invaluable learning experience for them.
Since arriving in the building, the manager has made it clear that he will give players an opportunity if they deserve it, irrespective of their age, and the challenge now for our young players is to go and fight for a place in the first team squad.
For more information on life in the Academy here at Oxford United, check out our new dedicated Twitter feed: @AcademyOUFC.
Proud History – Bright Future!