Reece Oxford
Manchester United and Arsenal have tried to sign West Ham United's latest midfield star Reece Oxford Getty

Manchester United reportedly tried to sign West Ham United's latest midfield prospect Reece Oxford last season, according to the Manchester Evening News.

The 16-year-old midfielder, who was a regular in the Hammers' U21 team last season, made it to the senior team this summer. Slaven Bilic shocked the player, when he handed him a start for their opening Premier League clash against Arsenal, which West Ham won 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium.

Oxford put in a man-of-the-match performance during his side's impressive win, and became the second youngest player to play in the Premier League behind Everton's Josh Baxter, who was just 38 days younger than the West Ham star.

The young midfielder has revealed that Tottenham rejected him as a youngster, which saw him move across London to Upton Park, where despite the interest from the Red Devils last season, he signed his first professional contract in January this year.

The report claimed that West Ham have fought of interest not just from United, but from Arsenal and Liverpool as well.

Oxford has expressed surprise at his sudden rise into the Hammers' first-team and admitted that he never thought of getting a chance to start in their opening day clash against title contenders Arsenal.

"West Ham have been giving the young players who are coming through a chance," Oxford said, as quoted by the Manchester Evening News.

"Last season I was on the bench a few times, so I expected to be around the team again this season, but not starting against Arsenal," he explained.

Meanwhile, Bilic, who gave the youngster a chance on the big stage, has said that Oxford is part of a new generation coming through the ranks at West Ham's academy, which is fondly referred to as The Academy of Football.

"If Messi was in front of me, I'd be more fazed than Reece. People were asking: 'Are you sure he is 16? It was going to be a risk but he has got something. I am very proud of him. He is a part of this new generation," the former Besiktas manager added.