The 2020-21 season has been a big positive for many of our Academy graduates – and our latest fixture against Norwich City saw Dejan Tetek get his first Championship start of his career.
It was a lively performance from the Serbia Under-21 international – some tough tackles, positive passing and ultimately a mature performance from the 18-year-old.
He gave his reflections after the final whistle on his pathway to this point – including paying tribute to his family, learning from Andy Rinomhota and Josh Laurent, and the way the group have helped him this year.
“I’m very proud,” Dejan said. “It’s massive for me and my family. I’ve been at the club for about 10 years, so to make my first league start is a massive day for me.
“My family have been a massive factor in why I’m here today and making my first league start – if it wasn’t for them, 100% I wouldn’t be here right now. So I’d like to thank them right now for everything they have given to me.
“I’m not a local boy – coming in and out of Oxford five times a week… that was hard. But it’s paying off. The only thing that would make it better was if they were here.
“And the lads are brilliant – really warming and positive, and against Norwich they made sure that I was comfortable and communicating with me. In general, it has been a very positive season for me, even though we couldn’t quite push into the play-offs.
“I’ve got a good bond with Andy and Josh – when I’m on the bench, I’m learning off them and picking up little bits.
“The first team lads and the coaching staff have been really positive with me, and given me chances to show what I can do.”
The 4-1 defeat at Carrow Road was something of a harsh reflection on the Royals – the Canaries were crowned as champions with the win.
Yet Dejan and the team can reflect positively on the performance, where they matched up to the title-winners on their own patch for large parts of the game. Just one more outing left, next weekend against Huddersfield.
“Obviously we’re gutted about the result – I thought we did enough in the first half to take the lead and maybe score more,” he continued. “But hopefully we can go into the next game to end the season on a positive.
“In the first half, we put a massive shift in and if we were more ruthless in front of goal, it could have been a different story. But in the second half they came out strongly and they were the better team.
“I think I did alright in the first half – I got around the pitch pretty well, picked up a few balls, and passed forward as much as I could. But most importantly we’re gutted about the result.
“We’ll be going all out against Huddersfield and making sure we finish the season with three points.
“If I play that, I want to put in a good performance and help us to go into the summer in a good way.”