JOHN Mousinho says he will consider it a personal failure if Rob Dickie and Elliott Moore do not go on to play at a higher level.

Oxford United boss Karl Robinson is in the fortunate position of having three senior centre backs who have performed well this season.

Dickie established himself last season but has hit new heights since, while the U’s paid a fee to sign Moore from Leicester City in the summer.

The pair are 23 and 22 respectively, but any plans there were of playing them together have been complicated by Mousinho.

A decade older than his teammates, the U’s skipper has also stepped up and started two-thirds of matches this season.

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It is a welcome problem for Robinson, but Mousinho does not think it has been an issue to keep the trio happy.

He said: “It’s a brilliant position to be in.

“The three of us get on really well, I think the absolute world of those two as centre halves.

“I think it would be a failure on their behalf – and mine as well – if they don’t go on and play at a higher level, whether that’s with Oxford or another club.”

He added: “I think they’re both brilliant players.

“The evidence was there at Rotherham – Rob’s been getting a lot of praise and rightfully so, but Elliott came in and slotted in brilliantly (in a 2-1 win).”

Mousinho has taken on some coaching duties this season, with one eye on a move into management after he hangs up his boots.

Dickie and Moore should be the big beneficiaries as he passes on experience gained in more than 500 games.

Mousinho said: “We know the manager gives me a lot of free rein to help with the lads, so my area of expertise I’d like to think is at centre half.

“It’s a tough one because I know they’re competing for my place, but at the end of the day when you have lads like that who are really good people and players, I want them to do well.

“I don’t see that as a problem. I think the better we do as a three the better it will be for all of our careers.

“If I’m sitting here next year I want Oxford to be playing in the Championship.

“If they are playing well then that’s great for me.

“It’s not been as strange a dynamic as maybe I would have thought.”

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