The business of the business…
After a really positive few weeks within the Academy the last seven days have been a reminder of just how challenging and unpredictable this business can be sometimes.
Our U18s have made a really strong start to the season in their League but were disappointed to be knocked out of the League Cup away at Bournemouth on Tuesday. It’s a mark of the standards that this group are striving for that they expect to go to a Premier League side and win but it was positive to see them bounce back with a controlled, solid 2-1 win away at Plymouth just 3 days later.
Chris Allen’s U23 squad had a unique opportunity to play at Arsenal’s Emirates stadium last week where they took on Burton Albion as part of the Premier League’s VAR testing programme.
We want to expose our young players to a wide range of experiences as part of their development here at Oxford but we also want to raise the profile of the football club as a whole. Being involved in a Premier League initiative of this kind will hopefully inspire all our staff and players to continue to raise their standards as we strive to build for the future. I also want to put on record my thanks to the entire First Team coaching staff who travelled down to watch our young side play in London – it’s testament to their commitment and support that they would do this on a rare day off and it certainly shows the togetherness around the place at present.
Our schoolboy programme took on Swindon this weekend and, whilst Football League rules prevent us from publishing details of these games, it was pleasing to see a number of our sides show the kind of passion and commitment required for derby games of this kind. We’ve got plenty of work to do across our programme but we’ve got some really exciting local lads in our younger age groups who are already beginning to understand what it means to pull on an Oxford United shirt.
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, this week I’d like to extend my congratulations to:
- U18s midfielder Kyran Lofthouse who has been called up to train with the U23s following a string of strong performances in the Youth Team.
- Oxford-based Aaron Heap for making his Northern Ireland U19s debut against Slovakia last week.
- U23s striker Harvey Bradbury for scoring on his loan debut for Woking this weekend.
- U18s striker Slavi Spasov for scoring a brace away at Plymouth on Saturday.
Finally I would like to signpost everyone towards the plans for the club’s 125th Year anniversary celebrations taking place around the Shrewsbury game on October 27th.
As an Academy we are fiercely proud of our heritage here at Oxford United and for the club to agree to donate all profits from this event to the youth system here is a really significant statement of intent for which we are very grateful. I would encourage everyone to buy tickets, share the links and encourage businesses across the county to get on board for what promises to be the event of the year here in Oxfordshire.
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