LUKE Taylor says the lure of working with Des Buckingham was a huge contributing factor in him returning to Oxford United.

Taylor was announced as United’s new head of athletic performance last week, in a move which saw him return to his roots.

He grew up in Marston, and helped establish a sports science department at the U’s academy early on in his career.

Taylor left United in 2014, and his CV boasts stints as a physical performance coach at the FA, a consultant strength and conditioning coach with Aston Villa, and his most recent role as head of physical performance with the Wales Women team.

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He has also previously worked alongside Buckingham, as a strength and conditioning coach in the New Zealand set-up.

The duo helped the New Zealand Under-20s side reach the last 16 of the Under-20 World Cup in 2019, before losing to Colombia in a penalty shoot-out.

When their paths diverged, the pair kept in touch though, and would find time to meet whenever Buckingham was back in the UK.

Taylor even revealed that there was the possibility he could’ve joined Buckingham at Indian Super League outfit Mumbai City, however the coronavirus pandemic put a halt on any potential plans.

He said: “I spoke to him a lot. We had some conversations about Mumbai and what that could potentially have looked like.

“It was peak lockdown and I’ve got two children, so moving to India without them would’ve been very difficult.

“We stayed in touch though, and every time he came home, we’d always meet or go for dinner, or have a chat.

“We’d talk about football, we’d talk about sports science, and we’d talk about our lives, so we always kept in touch.”

However, when the recent opportunity came up to return to the U’s, and once again work with Buckingham, it proved almost impossible to resist for Taylor.

He said: “With life in football, you can go anywhere essentially. I’m from Marston, and my dad and my brother are both season ticket holders, so they were very happy when this opportunity came up.

“I’d worked with Des before, and to be honest, I’d have gone wherever he went, because of the fact I believe he’s going to be a successful manager.

“He’s a very talented coach, so I wanted to work with him, and I believe in what he wants to do.

“That was the big draw, and from a personal perspective, this is my club, so it’s great to be here.”