We are delighted to confirm that Tyler Blackett has today signed a four-year contract with Reading Football Club, joining the Royals on a permanent deal from Manchester United.
The 22-year-old defender first joined the Red Devils in his hometown of Manchester at the age of eight, and now links up with a former United defender in the shape of our current boss Jaap Stam at Madejski Stadium.
Stam said: “As we know, Tyler is a talented defender who has played for United’s first team. He can play as a left-back or a left-sided centre-back; he has got great potential in the sense that he is quick and athletic, defensively he is strong and he is good at set-pieces. As a defender he can go and play high up the pitch as well, and that is what we need in the squad.”
After progressing through the Academy ranks at Carrington, Blackett turned pro at Old Trafford in the summer of 2012 under Sir Alex Ferguson. With the experienced figure of Patrice Evra regularly occupying the left-back berth, Blackett moved on loan to Blackpool the following season to get his first taste of competitive first-team football.
His pro debut came as a 19-year-old as Blackpool travelled to Nottingham Forest, where he played the entirety for the Seasiders and helped them to a 1-0 win – keeping a side that included former Royals Jamie Mackie, Nathaniel Chalobah and Simon Cox at bay.
After 4(+1) appearances in league and cup for the Lancashire side, the defender then made his second loan spell away by joining fellow Championship side Birmingham City for the remainder of the 2013/14 campaign and featured in 6(+2) games for the Blues.
The 2014/15 season was a breakthrough year for Blackett in Man United’s first team. After impressing Dutch boss Louis van Gaal in pre-season, he was handed his Premier League debut on the opening day of the new campaign at home against Swansea. He went on to play a further 10 top-tier games for the reigning champions that season, most notably playing the duration in a 4-0 demolition of QPR and in a 2-1 triumph against Arsenal at the Emirates.
Blackett continued his development north of the border in the 2015/16 campaign as he linked up with Glasgow giants Celtic. As well as playing his part in a Scottish Premiership title-winning league campaign for the Bhoys, he also added continental experience to his game during Europa League matches against Ajax, Fenerbache and Molde.
Like fellow summer arrivals John Swift and Liam Moore, Blackett has represented England at youth level. His first involvement came in 2009 when he helped the Under-16 squad to retain the Victory Shield.
Since then, he has stepped up through the age groups to win a total of nine caps for the Young Lions – most recently for the Under-21s in 2014 as Jonathan Bond kept a shut-out in a 3-0 win against Moldova, with Saido Berahino and Harry Kane finding the net for England.
The defender was in attendance at Madejski Stadium for our 2-2 draw against league-leaders Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday. And now that the deal is complete, he will link up with his new teammates in training for the first time this week, and has been handed squad number 24 with the Royals.
Chief Executive Nigel Howe added: “We are very pleased that Tyler has chosen to join us at Madejski Stadium and be a part of this Reading squad. He is another young talented footballer who we hope will continue to blossom during his time with us.”
Blackett’s transfer is of course subject to the normal ratification procedures of the relevant football authorities.