THE SECRET SCOUT: Oxford's Rob Dickie is a defender on the rise

THE SECRET SCOUT: Oxford defender Rob Dickie is strong and can play out of defence with precision… but he must improve his agility

  • The Secret Scout has placed Oxford defender Rob Dickie under the spotlight 
  • A tall, uncompromising centre half, Dickie is powerful and a greater header 
  • He positions himself well to cover anything delivered from the wings
  • Dickie also shows determination to pass balls out of defence with precision  
  • Work on flexibility and agility must be done in order to reach the next level 

Sportmail’s scout is a top football expert who attends matches each week searching for the next star. This week they bring the full low-down on Oxford United’s promising defender Rob Dickie.



AGE: 23 

CLUB: Oxford United

POSITION: Defender 

VALUE: £600,000

2019-20 APPS: 44 


This tall, uncompromising centre half is a regular in Karl Robinson’s side.

Not the most athletic of runners, he has other attributes that make him stand out. Strong in the air, from attacking corners he takes up deep positions for driven balls and aims to head back across goal to create chances for onrushing colleagues. 

His defensive heading is also strong. He positions himself well to cover anything delivered from the wings. He is less happy when pulled wide to cover for his full backs if they have been caught upfield.

The Secret Scout has placed impressive Oxford defender Rob Dickie under the spotlight

He was very focused on one-on-ones, knowing that he would prefer to confront a big, strong forward than a small, quick one. He may look a little stiff but was still capable of determined runs over 40-50 yards.

Early loans to the lower leagues from his first club, Reading, have helped his progress.

When I saw him, it seemed he would rather sit deep, from where he could control his back line, rather than push out and leave space behind for faster forwards to exploit.

Here is a player who knows his strengths and what impressed me was his determination to pass balls out of defence with precision into the midfield and wide to his full backs.

He was not happy to hoist balls forward out of defensive areas with little thought. When he had to clear hurriedly, he did so, but his first instinct was, ‘Can I pass the ball?’, to allow the team to continue their combination play upfield.

His selection of pass was decisive and he showed bravery and tackled cleanly.

Dickie has already gone up against some of the country’s most elite level footballers


Dickie copes well on the whole but I get the impression clever forwards may give him problems when turning to face him. He seems canny enough to cope with strong players but he needs to — and does — get tight enough to stop forwards turning. 

He will need to work on his flexibility and agility to gain quicker footwork at close quarters. 

But Dickie has the necessary qualities to play in this position, and with guidance and determination to improve, he could move up a division next season, maybe even with his current club.

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