• Sat. Jun 15th, 2024

Oxford United captain John Mousinho hails James Golding and other youngsters

Byoxfordnewspaper

Sep 8, 2022

JOHN Mousinho has backed James Golding to ‘flourish’ after the Oxford United youngster’s promising start to the season.

The defender only turned 18 last month but has made five first-team appearances for the U’s in 2022/23, including against higher-division sides Swansea City and Crystal Palace.

Golding now looks well-placed to be selected for the Republic of Ireland Under 19s’ European Championship qualifiers later this month, after earning his maiden call-up in May.

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The teenager has played at wing back, full back and centre back for the U’s and fellow defender Mousinho has been impressed with his versatility.

The club captain said: “I remember when I first started playing, I was a right back, centre mid, left wing, right wing and it was a really good trait to have.

“Sometimes it wasn’t (a good trait) because you never nailed down a position, but I would encourage him to be as versatile as possible because those are the first players that get signed.

“His potential, his physicality, and his ball-playing ability are all great and he’ll really flourish, alongside a few of the others.

“I played with him quite a lot last year in the reserves and saw him come on leaps and bounds, from a young kid that didn’t really know how to use his physicality to someone that doesn’t look out of place in the first team.”

Ireland Under 19s face Gibraltar, Wales and Hungary between September 20 and 26, which would rule Golding out of United’s Sky Bet League One clash with Fleetwood Town on Saturday 24.

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The defender is one of five homegrown young professionals to play for the club’s first team this season.

United’s injury list has presented an opportunity to Golding, Tyler Goodrham, Gatlin O’Donkor, Josh Johnson and Slavi Spasov, but all five have stood up to the task.

Mousinho, 36, said: “They’ve done absolutely brilliantly if you look at the performances from some of the young lads across pre-season and now.

“We probably wouldn’t have expected to utilise them so early, as we’d have probably liked them to go out on loan and maybe play a few reserve and Papa John’s Trophy games.

“But they’ve been chucked into battle really early and done magnificently.”