Academy Manager Dan Harris brings us up to date with life in our youth development programme…
Over the course of a season in professional football it is inevitable that teams and individuals will face any number of highs and lows. This week has certainly seen this to be the case in the Academy programme.
It was great to see our U18s get past Barnet in their recent Youth Cup game, particularly given that three of those involved in the game had played up at Hull City for the U23s less than 48 hours earlier.
While everyone was delighted to progress through to the next round, I was more impressed by the fact that every single member of the squad went directly to the treatment room on the final whistle to check on defender Viktor Milton who picked up a serious injury in the game. It speaks volumes for the togetherness and character of this group that our young players were more concerned with their teammate than they were with celebrating their win and it’s moments like this that can give us real hope that we have some young men in our building that “get” what it might take to make a career in this game.
In our part-time programme our younger age groups continue to exceed the targets we’ve set for them and, whilst Premier League rules don’t permit us to report results, it has been pleasing to see us come out on top against a number of Premier League sides and local rivals in recent weeks! We have a real commitment to offering a pathway for local lads here at Oxford United to represent this proud club but our young players need to understand just how hard they will need to work if they want to make this a reality – it is pleasing to see many of our young players beginning to grasp this.
As part of our commitment to building a world-class programme here at Oxford United I’d like to recognise the following individuals and groups for their achievements over recent weeks:
- Our Bicester Regional Training Centre under the guidance of Gareth Hamer which has gone from strength to strength and will be announcing a further expansion next week.
- U23s striker Harvey Bradbury for making his League debut v Gillingham last weekend.
- Our U18s for their win in the Youth Cup last week securing a tie against Premier League side Burnley in the next round.
- U18s forward Owen James for being named in the match day squad for the recent FA Cup tie away at Forest Green Rovers.
- U23s midfielder Aaron Heap for making his competitive International debut in a European Qualifier for Northern Ireland last week.
Make sure you follow the Official Academy Twitter feed @AcademyOUFC to stay up to date with all the Youth Development news here at Oxford United.
Proud History: Bright Future