LIAM Manning believes the signings Oxford United have made this summer are getting him closer to the way he wants the side to play.

United have acted swiftly in the summer transfer window, bringing in Ruben Rodrigues, Jordan Thorniley, Josh McEachran and James Beadle before pre-season started.

The four new signings all bring various capabilities to the U’s squad, but are unified in their ability and calmness on the ball, in addition to their strong range of passing.

United head coach Manning feels that the side he is now building during his first pre-season with the club is moving nearer to what he wants from a tactical viewpoint.

READ ALSO: Liam Manning hopeful Oxford United can sign ‘one or two’ before trip to Spain

Asked whether the new faces mean the team is close to being in his image, Manning responded: “It’s definitely heading in that direction. I have some top line principles in terms of what I want the team to look like – I want us to dominate the ball, I want us to attack and excite, and score goals and create chances.

“Some of the stuff that you saw in the last 10 games of last season are fundamental as well, in terms of being organised defensively and being hard to beat, and showing the right character and behaviours to be in games.

“I’m quite clear in terms of how the game looks so having the personnel to be able to execute and deliver is paramount.

“There was already a lot in place, I felt, and what we’ve been able to do is compliment that and add to it, and fast track the way we want to play.”

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The four new signings also indicate that Manning is creating a new spine at the club, through from goalkeeper Beadle to centre back Thorniley, and deep-lying midfielder McEachran, plus No 10 Rodrigues.

Discussing that new core to the side, Manning also praised wide players Tyler Goodrham and Marcus Browne for the way they have come in and hit the ground running upon returning to pre-season this week.

“In the back four with Jordan coming in, I think it’s an extremely strong and experienced backline,” said Manning.

“Centrally, we’ve got experience and games, and physicality and quality as well.

“At the top end of that, I look at some of the wide players, and Tyler Goodrham has come back in terrific condition.

“He looks sharp and lively, and obviously finished the season on a high so we’ll be pushing him and he needs to push himself to build on how he finished the season because he had a positive end.

“It’s the same with Marcus Browne, he’s come back in great shape as well, and again it’s about getting consistency and momentum.

“What we’ve already got in the building is strong and solid, and exciting as well, and now it’s about complimenting that and adding to it.”

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About the author

To sign up to Liam’s latest Oxford United newsletter for free, click here:

Formerly the politics reporter for the Oxford Mail, Liam now covers all things Oxford United.

Liam attends the U’s home and away, as well as covering other big sports stories across the county.

His Oxford United newsletter is released every Saturday morning at 6am.