Oxford United boss pinpoints what is key for Stephan Negru in his development

Des Buckingham, the head coach of Oxford United, thinks that Stephen Negru is still progressing appropriately.

Negru has participated in 17 of the U’s 42 games in all competitions this season, with his most recent performance drawing high praise.

The 21-year-old center back enjoyed Wycombe Wanderers’ aerial battle over the weekend and contributed significantly to United’s clean sheet.

It was the first shutout since the U’s 3-0 victory over Burton Albion at home on December 16.
Negru hasn’t made many mistakes since being thrown into the first team last season, and after a number of strong performances at the start of this season, he was linked to a transfer to Brighton & Hove Albion, a Premier League team.

Former United manager Liam Manning called the rumors “just noise,” but in early September, Negru was rewarded with a “longer-term deal.”

Since then, Negru has been in and out of the team. In December and January, he missed many weeks due to a hamstring injury.

When speaking about Negru’s growth, Buckingham stated: “He needs to keep learning, first and foremost from Elliott Moore, who is an amazing role model.

Elliott is still a young man, but having someone like Elliott as club captain around all the time will benefit him in his growth.

“After that, to keep refining both the way we want him to play and his own playing style with the coaches.”

“He can play in two different ways: either as Elliott’s replacement, as we saw over the weekend, or in a different system, like the back three we’ve employed on occasion.

“As a young player trying to forge your career, when you’ve got senior players in front of you, it can be difficult.

“The pleasing thing is that Steph is one of many good people here. He knows what he’s here for and he’s working very hard on his game.

“When he gets his opportunities, which he has got since I’ve been here, he’s ready to step in and step up, because he needs to contribute.”

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