ELLIOTT Moore is relishing his new status as Oxford United’s senior centre back.

The 23-year-old was given the captain’s armband at the start of December, when the U’s began their current nine-match unbeaten run.

He is already the older member of United’s first-choice centre-back pairing, with Rob Atkinson 16 months younger.

But with John Mousinho undergoing knee surgery this week and no defensive reinforcements imminent, Moore is now the U’s most experienced available centre back.

Read also: Sean Clare joins Burton Albion on loan

It is only the ex-Leicester City trainee’s second football league campaign, but having learnt from United’s club captain and former teammate Rob Dickie last year he has taken the step up in his stride.

Moore said: “John’s been a massive help to everyone since I’ve been at the club, especially the centre backs.

“I’ve learnt a lot, especially watching him and Rob (Dickie) last year.

“It’s a great opportunity for me and hopefully we’ll carry on this run that we’re on.

“The responsibility doesn’t faze me or change the way I play.

“The thing it does change is it gives me the responsibility to say what I think.

“On the pitch I’m there to help everyone else as well as me, so that’s what I’m using this opportunity for.”

Moore and Sam Long were the only players to keep their places as U’s boss Karl Robinson made nine changes for Tuesday’s 1-0 win over Cambridge United in the Papa John’s Trophy.

It was United’s fifth clean sheet in their last nine games, after just one in the season’s first 19 matches.

The U’s unbeaten run has not only coincided with Moore’s appointment as captain, but Jack Stevens’ promotion to Robinson’s first-choice goalkeeper.

League One transfer tracker: all the January deals

The academy graduate was nominated for Sky Bet League One player of the month for December and United’s skipper revealed he has filled the whole back line with confidence.

He said: “Since he’s come into the team he’s been brilliant.

“He’s a vocal lad, he’s on the front foot and he’s aggressive.

“The way he’s been playing has been a massive help.”

Meanwhile, full-backs Long and Josh Ruffels have offered plenty going forward in recent weeks.

The pair claimed three goals and four assists between them in United’s two most recent league games and Moore feels this illustrates United’s growing confidence.

He said: “At the start of the season we didn’t feel like we were getting the results we deserved.

“Now we’re getting the results, as well as the performances.

“We’ve got a strong base and the full-backs have been brilliant going forward.”