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In opposition: Oxford United - ones to watch

6 December 2021

Oxford United do not find goals hard to come by. They have scored 41 goals in all competitions this year, giving them a 1.58 goals per game average.

However, their all-out attacking style has left them exposed conceding an average of one goal per game. Led by the efficiency of Matty Taylor (nine goals), Oxford United have scored 30 league goals in the current season. Taylor also has three assists under his belt while teammate James Henry has scored six times this season and also has recorded three assists.

Now in his third season with the club, Elliott Moore captains the U’s on the pitch, where he has 22 interceptions and five tackles won from his defensive back position. Their defensive efforts are lauded by many, as six players have posted 15 or more tackles.

 

Cameron Brannagan

Born in Manchester and raised in Salford, Cameron Brannagan began his youth career in the Liverpool youth system, despite spending time previously in both the Manchester United and Manchester City youth academies.

He would go on to sign his first professional contract with Liverpool in 2014, where he would play three games with the Reds. Mixed in-between was a loan spell with Fleetwood Town in 2017. In January 2018, Brannagan signed a three-and-a-half year deal with Oxford United, concluding his 16-year association at Anfield.

Despite suffering an ankle injury at the start of his Us career, he made his club debut for Oxford United in March 2018. Following the 2018/19 season, Brannagan received the club’s Players’ Player of the Year Award.

Internationally, he has represented England at both the U18 and U20 levels. This season, Brannagan has scored four goals, and owns a 37.5% shots on target ratio. He is averaging 2.59 shots per game, while also averaging 0.97 shots on target per game.

 

James Henry

Scotland international James Henry began his career at his hometown club Reading in 2006. He would stay with the club until 2010, making just ten appearances overall in his four years at the club.

He would also serve loan spells with Nottingham Forest, AFC Bournemouth, Norwich City and Millwall in his time with Reading. Across two loan spells with Millwall, Henry scored eight goals in 25 appearances. He would seal a permanent move to The Den in 2010, eventually spending four seasons with Millwall. On his home debut, he setup all four goals in a 4-0 win over Hull City. After a brief loan spell with Wolverhampton, Henry inked a permanent move to Molineux in 2014, staying with Wolves until 2017.

Since arriving to Kassam Stadium in 2017, he has appeared in more than 160 games for Oxford United, contributing with more than 45 goals in the process.

Internationally, Henry has played with Scotland at U16, U18 and U19 level between 2004 and 2008. Henry is the second top scorer, scoring six and setting up three goals though three of these have come from the penalty spot. He averages more than a shot on target every game.

 

Steve Seddon

A native of Berkshire, left back Steve Seddon was a youth in both the Reading and Birmingham City academy systems. In 2016, Seddon signed his first professional contract with Birmingham City, going on to appear in 11 games for the club until his departure in 2021. During his time at Birmingham City, Seddon served loan stints with Stevenage (2018-19), AFC Wimbledon (2019) and Portsmouth (2020). He featured 25 times for Stevenage, and helped the AFC Wimbledon secure a return to Sky Bet League One in 2019.

In July 2021, Seddon inked a three-year contract with Oxford United, signing for an undisclosed fee. He netted his first goal of the season for the U’s during the league-opener against Cambridge United, scoring in the 42nd-minute to help secure a draw. Seddon has scored three goals across all competitions this season, adding a team-high four assists. He leads the Us with 110 deliveries into the box, adding 23 interceptions and 18 tackles in defence.

 

Matty Taylor

Matty Taylor is Oxford United through and through. Born in Oxford, the striker began his career in the Academy, only to later sign his first professional contract with the club in 2007. He would later play three seasons (2011-14) with Forest Green Rovers, scoring more than 20 goals in over 100 career appearances for the club. In 2014, Taylor moved to Bristol Rovers, spending three years with the Pirates, scoring in excess of 60 goals in over 120 games. With the Pirates, Taylor was instrumental in helping Bristol Rovers earn promotion to Sky Bet League One. He would return to Oxford United on loan from Bristol City in 2019, later signing a permanent deal to re-join the Us in July 2020, inking a three-year deal with the club.

In all, he has seen action in more than 60 games for the Us in two spells at Oxford United, scoring more than 25 goals and setting up double-digit goals as well. On the international level, Taylor played for the England C team in two games in 2014. This season, Taylor is tied for fifth-most in League One with nine goals scored across all competitions – leading the U’s in that department. He also has three assists. He has amassed 18 shots on target (36%). He is averaging 3.01 shots per game, adding 1.08 shots on target per game. He is scoring at a 0.44 goals per shots on target ratio.

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