Iffley to prepare for next Bale

Iffley Road could soon be dazzled by the next Gareth Bale with the Blues in talks to play two Premier League U18 teams this season.

OxStu Sport has learnt that the Blues hope to arrange friendly matches against Southampton and Tottenham, two of the strongest academies in the Premier League, in the next few weeks.

The Blues have links with the south coast outfit through former goalkeeper Tom Haigh, who was once involved in the Southampton youth setup.

“It definitely adds an added spice to an ordinary friendly for us,” said Blues’ captain Jack Fletcher. “It’s great for us to test ourselves against the best young players around.

“We could feasibly play against someone who goes on to play for England or Spain and that is very exciting. University football games can often be ugly where both teams are scrapping for a result. To play proper passing teams is a very different experience – certainly much more enjoyable!”

Famous graduates from the Saints’ academy include Bale, who became the world’s most expensive player when he signed for Real Madrid, while Southampton also launched the careers of Arsenal duo Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Andros Townsend is the latest Spurs prospect to have caught the eye of manager Andre Villas-Boas having starred on loan at QPR last season. Fellow youth teamers Jake Livermore, Tommy Carroll and Harry Kane have also featured for the first eleven in the last few seasons.

Spurs’ current U18 team includes attacking midfielder William Miller who has been called up to the England U18 squad for two matches against Hungary in October.

Football is something of a second career for the 17-year-old. Miller beat 700 promising child actors to the part of Oliver Twist for a 2007 BBC production.

Yet Miller’s side will face a strong challenge on the Iffley Road stage. The Blues earned a 2-2 draw against Atletico Madrid U18 on a tour of Spain in April and were narrowly beaten 3-2 by a Reading U18 side in January.