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Howe: Academy is vital

31 May 2013

Chief Executive on youth importance

Director and Chief Executive Nigel Howe has underlined the importance that our Academy is playing and will continue to play in the future – and he is delighted with the way manager Nigel Adkins has embraced the very successful youth set-up we have in place at Reading.

"Nigel Adkins has come in and embraced it straight away," he said. "He's embraced the style of football that is played in the Academy - and that style is aligned to what he wants the first team to play. That is a really important strategic way forward.

"In virtually every age group, from under-8s upwards, we have a team that is doing very well and improving all the time. That runs right through to the under-18s who did extremely well this season to finish as runners-up in the Elite League.

"This year we have seen some of our Academy graduates become Premier League players and the players who have come through the ranks even more recently have done well out on loan too - some of them look like they could potentially appear at first team level for our club."

Howe added the club are continuously striving to invest in the future and attain EPPP Category One status.

"The club are trying to achieve the Category One status which gives us a top level Academy. There are less than 20 Category One Academies in the country and we want to be one of them.

"It demonstrates what we're trying to do as a football club in terms of developing young players to the very best level. Category One status allows us to recruit countrywide, which is obviously what we are aiming for."

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