West Ham captain Mark Noble was sent off at the weekend, further adding to Manuel Pellegrini’s woes.

Pellegrini is without a number of central midfielders and Noble’s looming suspension just makes things harder.

But could this ill turn of fate hand Reece Oxford the chance to shine on the first-team stage?

Lack of options

Manuel Lanzini, Carlos Sanchez and Jack Wilshere are all on the long-term injury list.

And Pedro Obiang has missed the last couple of games with an injury too. Furthermore, Noble will miss the next three matches through suspension after receiving a straight red card at Leicester.

This leaves Declan Rice, 19, as the only fit central midfielder in the first-team ranks.

Could this force Pellegrini to promote Oxford and play him in central midfield?

Reece Oxford’s career

Reece Oxford impressed on debut for West Ham aged just 16. (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Oxford burst onto the scene in Slaven Bilic’s first game as West Ham manager. Then 16, Oxford had a brilliant game against Arsenal and was tipped for the top.

 

But since then, he has failed to kick on. The youth team captain is a regular for the under-23 side but has only managed 17 first-team appearances in the last four-and-a-half seasons.

The 19-year-old also had a fruitless loan spell at Reading,  playing just five times, and a more productive stint at Borussia Monchengladbach, although he only managed eight outings.

Oxford is yet to feature under Pellegrini but the crisis in midfield could give him a chance.

Last chance?

Reece Oxford needs to impress Manuel Pellegrini if he is called up. (Photo by Arfa Griffiths/West Ham United via Getty Images)

Oxford plays at either centre-back or in central midfield and he may be needed.

Conor Coventry is deemed to be ahead of him in the pecking order but Oxford’s first-team experience and 6ft 3in frame makes him better suited to the demands of senior football at the minute.

Although he is still a teenager, many West Ham fans see this as his last real chance of becoming a Hammer.

His career seems to be stalling and the England under-20 international needs to earn his place in the side.

If he can take advantage of this midfield crisis and seize his chance in the first-team, West Ham’s solution could already be on their books.

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