AUSTRALIAN striker Matthew Fletcher agreed a short-term contract with Oxford United yesterday – and is determined to show people he deserves a place in the U’s squad.

The 19-year-old, who has spent the last three years at Sunderland, wanted a fresh challenge in his career.

And he thinks that Oxford is the perfect place for him to do just that.

“The club is massive,” he said. “I have heard a lot about Oxford United and know that it has a great manager and is going places.

“My target is to get around the first-team squad and hopefully get some time on the pitch and prove that I deserve to be here.”

Fletcher represented Australia in the Under 20 World Cup in Columbia this year, but didn’t get onto the pitch after being an unused substitute in all of his country’s three games.

The 6ft 3ins striker was Roy Keane’s first signing as Sunderland manager and scored two goals in ten appearances for their reserve side.

However, he decided to leave the Stadium of Light due to personal issues and is hoping to progress his career with Oxford.

Fletcher says he has fully adapted to life away from home and is relishing the new challenge that lies in wait at the Kassam Stadium.

“At first it was hard coming here and I really missed everything back home,” he said.

“But I have been here three years now, so consider myself English.

“I had a great time at Sunderland. I couldn’t speak highly enough of the club going through the system.

“But I decided to leave for personal reasons and wanted to start a new chapter in my footballing career and Oxford is a great chance to do that.”

Fletcher has been likened by some to Mark Viduka, and says that he has an all-round game rather than having one or two main attributes.

“I am a striker who holds up the ball well, but feel that I can do a lot of things so consider myself as pretty versatile,” he said.

“Hopefully I can get a few goals while I am here too.”

Fletcher says that football in Australia is booming and that there is the possibility of more youngsters coming to England to try to make it in the professional game.

“Football is the biggest junior sport in Australia by a long way,” he commented.

“Although it’s not the national sport, it is still massive over there.”