DES Buckingham admits it was difficult to step away from Mumbai City and the vast resources that parent company the City Football Group (CFG) offers.

Buckingham was named as Oxford United’s new head coach last week, bringing to an end the club’s nine-day search to replace Liam Manning.

CFG owns a string of clubs across the world, most noticeably Manchester City but also La Liga side Girona, Serie B outfit Palermo and Brazilian team Bahia.

After a 10th-placed finish last season, Girona currently lead La Liga this campaign, ahead of Real Madrid and Barcelona.

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Buckingham’s association with CFG began in September 2020, when he joined Melbourne City as an assistant coach.

He said: “The City Football Group took me in after I qualified for the Olympics with New Zealand, and I’d lost my job because of Covid.

“The City Football Group took me in to Melbourne and I can’t speak highly enough of the support they’ve given me over that four-year journey.

“Firstly at Melbourne where we won the double, and then in Mumbai over the last two-and-a-half-years where we’ve had the success that we’ve had.

“Leaving Mumbai was very tough. We’ve spent two-and-a-half years building the club, in terms of creating a CFG model, and that allowed us to have the success we’ve had.

“That foundation is now solid in place, but more importantly we built a culture and environment where players can demonstrate how good they can be.

“To step away from that will be very difficult, but then I look at the attraction coming back to England, but most importantly to my home club.

“I think very rarely do you get the chance in life to go back and coach a team where you’ve grown up all of your life, but more importantly it feels like the right time to come back.

“I’m ambitious and the club are ambitious, and it feels a very good fit right now.”

Manning was also a former CFG employee, having worked in the academy at New York City and as head coach at Belgian side Lommel SK.

Buckingham meanwhile revealed that he discussed the U’s role with various people, having left the club in 2015 for a coaching position at Wellington Phoenix.

“I spoke to many people, as I’m sure the club spoke to many about me,” he said.

“The one thing that really shone through was how everyone spoke about the club and the progress.

“I haven’t been here for eight years, so it’s a gap. I visited every off-season of course, but everyone spoke so highly about how the club is now set up.

“They spoke about how good the people in the building are, and it was a very easy decision based off that.”