PEP Clotet believes his European contacts give Oxford United a wider scope of recruitment than their Sky Bet League One rivals – but he is adamant the core of the squad will always be homegrown.

Agon Mehmeti is the sixth different overseas nationality to be signed since Clotet’s appointment in July.

The reshaping has given the U’s squad a far more cosmopolitan feel than most sides in League One.

Mehmeti is one of four players to have already worked under the Spaniard, whose coaching career took in Spain, Sweden and Norway before England.

That experience has a breadth few bosses at United’s level can match, which brings benefits.

But Clotet is certain the international contingent must add to a British spine, rather than the other way around.

He said: “It gives me a little bit of an advantage to know more players or the best way to handle them when they are from outside (England), because I had the experience.

“It takes a big effort from everyone on the staff and in the squad to get used to different personalities and cultures.

“When the rules in the team are clear and everyone is driving the same direction we all get the benefit of playing with different cultures.


  • ALBANIA - Agon Mehmeti
  • BRAZIL - Ricardinho
  • CURACAO - Gino van Kessel
  • THE NETHERLANDS - Dwight Tiendalli 
  • SPAIN - Xemi
  • SWEDEN - Ivo Pekalski

“But for me the main part of the squad must always remain British and English if possible, because they know the most about the game here.”

Clotet has also given the new signings time to acclimatise, whatever their nationality.

English pair Alex Mowatt and John Mousinho, signed last week, will only be considered for the first time tomorrow, when United host Gillingham.

For the U’s boss, it helps keep the squad together.

He said: “Taking care of the players we have when we add an extra one is the best way for me to make sure that everyone keeps this focus.

“All the players feel a bit pushed in the right way, but when you do it like this you don’t cause that disruption.

“We managed to bring in a lot of new faces this summer, but we have a team that works hard together. “