Alvin Martin revealed that he thought Reece Oxford ended up not being able to cope with expectations at West Ham after being spoken about like he was the next big thing.
The Hammers legend was asked by Tony Cascarino whether he was upset about Oxford leaving the Hammers on a permanent basis and just proceeded to explain what he thought went wrong for the centre-back at the London Stadium.
Martin shared his theory about why Oxford was not able to kick on after breaking into the Hammers’ team at a young age, and suggested it could have been due to him not being able to handle the weight of expectations.
“I think sometimes what happens is Cas, in the modern game is that you see a young player doing well at 18, or at U-21 level and you build them up too quick,” said Martin on talkSPORT (9:27am, Saturday, August 3rd).
“We start talking about them like they’re the next big thing and I think that’s what happened with him.
“A lot of people said a lot of nice things about him early on and it builds you, and it just happened too quick.
“Some people can live with it, if you look at people like Declan Rice, Manuel Pellegrini moved him into midfield and he has gone on.
“But there was a time when Rice was at centre-half and he was making one mistake too many, he’s moved into midfield and I think he is a really fantastic midfielder and I think he is going to be one of the big names in the country over their next decade.
“So he’s been able to live with it, move on, and maybe to a certain degree, evolve, Reece wasn’t able to do that.
“Maybe he wasn’t able to live with that pressure, sometimes you need a move, a change of environment to come again, but it can only happen if the player makes it happen and maybe at the age that he was, he wasn’t able to cope with that expectation.”
The Hammers confirmed via their official website on Friday that Oxford had left the club on a permanent basis to join German side Augsburg for an undisclosed fee, and it’s fair to say that wasn’t much of a surprise. It has felt like Oxford’s exit from the Hammers has been spoken about in the last four transfer windows, but instead of getting rid, the club have instead opted to loan him out. However, it seems they have finally thrown the towel in on the centre-back and found a club that he can call home for the next few years. Oxford spent the second half of his 2018/19 campaign on loan with Augsburg and it seems likely that they will utilise him now they’ve signed him, as they’ve done a sort-of try before you buy. The 20-year-old made eight appearances for them in the Bundesliga and averaged a rating of 6.16 (Source: WhoScored). While that does seem low, Oxford’s rating was likely harmed by the fact Augsburg were constantly under pressure at the back and suffered heavy losses like their 4-0 defeat to Werder Bremen and 8-1 loss to Wolfsburg during his spell with them. Also, the red card he received against Freiburg, probably helped lowered his rating drastically.