Reece Oxford will receive his GCSE results later this month but it was Mesut Ozil, Arsenal’s most expensive ever import, who was given something of a schooling on Sunday.
Arsenal are understood to have turned down the chance to sign Oxford from West Ham United when he turned 16 last December; a decision that perhaps explained some of Arsene Wenger’s reluctance to lavish praise on what was a truly exceptional debut. “He looked convincing – they did well,” Wenger simply said.
Graeme Souness, a pundit for Sky Sports and a man who knows more than most about the holding midfield position, was rather more effusive. “He was playing in a vital positon to protect the back four and did it impeccably,” he said. “For a 16-year-old it borders on the ridiculous.”