United youngsters earn deals

Photo courtesy of Jon Whiles Photography
Photo courtesy of Jon Whiles Photography
Article by Dan Church

Oxford United are proud to offer four of the club’s brightest young prospects new deals for next season.

Development squad quartet Matt Bevans, Sam Long, Aidan Hawtin and Josh Shama have all been offered extended contracts with the Yellows after impressing this campaign.

Defenders Bevans and Long have both featured regularly among United’s first-team plans this year, meanwhile Hawtin and Shama have been ever present in Oxford’s development squad.

The positive news adds to the achievements of fellow youth graduates Max Crocombe, Tyrone Marsh and Callum O’Dowda who have worked their way into United’s line-ups; with Josh Ashby, James Roberts and Sam Humphreys also being offered their first professional contracts this summer.

The quartet’s progression means Oxford have produced eleven players from their growing youth and development system, something manager Gary Waddock is delighted to see.

He said: “All four of them have done really well this season. They have an energy about them, they work hard at their game and they want to do well for the club.

“The fans have seen what Matt Bevans and Sam Long can do already. Josh never stops working in games and is a real handful. Aidan has fought back from a couple of injuries and fully deserves his chance to push on next year.

“It is exciting to see so many young players coming through at the club. They will be part of the future and over the next few days we will sit down with the senior players and make decisions with them as well.”

Us Chairman Ian Lenagan was also quick to add his blessing: “A lot of hard work and investment has gone into developing our own players, most of them local lads. There is a clear pathway now.

“The Development Squad has done its job this season. The aim was to help four or five players progress into the first team squad and next season those players have the opportunity to stake a claim as first team regulars.”

However; with success comes sacrifice as sadly not every player could be offered a new deal as Oxford duo David Lynn and Kenzer Lee are set to be released.

Waddock added: “It’s never easy. Both of them are great lads who I hope will find another club and bounce back from this disappointment.”