The last 10 days have been some of the most positive and satisfying I’ve seen since starting at the club back in January.
It has been fantastic to see the first team pick up a number of positive results over recent weeks and the Carabao cup pairing against Manchester City has created real excitement around the city. Our young Academy players will have the opportunity to see some of the best players in the world play here in Oxford and the opportunity to learn from these elite performers is one we want to make the most of.
Both our U18s and U23s squads produced battling, gritty performances last week as they secured progress in their respective cup competitions. Leon Blackmore-Such, Chris Hackett and Chris Allen are doing a lot of really solid work behind the scenes coaching these groups and it was particularly satisfying to see the U23s fight and scrap for the badge down at Southend to qualify for the group stages of the Premier League Cup. Considering this group didn’t exist less than two months ago, it’s testament to them as young men that they are already showing the kind of character and desire that the club and the fans demand.
Our schoolboy games programme kicked off this week with a long trip down to Plymouth for three of our age group sides. Our Under 15s opened up their account with a win down at Leyton Orient whilst it was also great to be able to make use of the fantastic facilities at Tilsley Park in Abingdon for our home fixtures – thanks to all at Abingdon School and Tilsley Park for their support as we base part of our games programme there for the next five weeks.
One of the steps forward we are making this year is looking to recognise and acknowledge elite performance within the Academy. With this in mind, I’d like to extend my congratulations to:
- U13’s goalkeeper Monty Marriott for his call-up to the Wales development squad
- Aaron Heap for joining up with the Northern Ireland U19s squad for the first time
- 20-year old Academy graduate Shandon Baptiste for his performance up a Sunderland in the first team.
- U23s midfielder Armani Little for his performances on loan at Woking as they claimed top spot in the division.
- U11 Harry Charles and U12 Finn Gregory for their player of month awards.
- U17s Slavi Spasov and Fabio Lopes for their call up to the first team this week.
There is certainly a real momentum building around the club and the city at the moment and it’s great to see a real sense of unity down at the new training ground – I know everyone is working hard to keep building on this progress and we’ll certainly do all we can as an Academy to contribute to what promises to be a bright future for Oxford United.
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