OXFORD United fans received the Christmas present they wanted most with news that Herbie Kane is set to stay at the club for the rest of the season.

After watching his side breeze past AFC Wimbledon, head coach Karl Robinson announced the midfielder has signed an agreement that prevents him being recalled by Barnsley.

Match report: Oxford United 3, AFC Wimbledon 0

Kane is on a season-long loan from the Sky Bet Championship strugglers, but a break clause in the deal would have enabled his parent club to bring him back.

Robinson revealed United’s owners have paid a fee to remove the clause, with the 23-year-old putting pen to paper yesterday.

The U's boss has long believed keeping Kane is vital to his side's chances of promotion from Sky Bet League One this season.

The former Liverpool trainee arrived in late August and has been a mainstay in midfield since mid-September, helping United climb into the play-off places.

“When you see some of the magical things the team does around him, it’s a real joy to have him at the football club,” Robinson said.

“I was incredibly excited by this one, he’s a player that I’ve loved for three years.

“I said no to him coming from Liverpool when I first came here (in 2018), because we still had Lego (Ryan Ledson) at the time.

“Cameron (Brannagan) was here.

“He was an ‘8’ then and within four weeks of the season starting I watched Doncaster play (where Kane was on loan) and thought I’d made one of the biggest mistakes of my career not saying yes to this boy.

“His agent has been excellent right the way through this process, I’d like to thank him for his honesty throughout the course of this.”

Kane missed United’s previous game, the 3-2 defeat to Wigan Athletic on December 18, after testing positive for Covid.

He returned to the starting XI against Wimbledon and helped his side to a dominant victory, as they ended 2021 in fine style.

The U’s were in control from the off and should have gone ahead before Mark Sykes gave them the lead after 27 minutes.

United strung together several sumptuous moves and Matty Taylor made it 2-0 shortly before the break, finding the net for the 12th time this season.

A lull at the start of the second half was emphatically ended by Sam Long’s volley, his first goal of the campaign, and they could have had more.

It sent United fifth in League One and left Robinson purring.

He said: “I thought some of the football we played was an absolute joy.

“I was almost like a fan at times.

“I just wanted to make sure we kept a level of professionalism and dignity to our play.

“It was a really enjoyable night and we’ve ended the year on an incredible high.”