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Jem on 'special' day

13 April 2015

Captain on first start as skipper and #RyansRoyals

After Jem Karacan made his first start as Reading captain, in the process leading out Ryan Duval at the climax of a project very close to the skipper's heart - the Turkish midfielder spoke to Reading FC Player. Read the interview in full below. The 26-year-old donated his appearance fee for the game to the Avenue School.

A great day for yourself – and more importantly for Ryan as well!
Yes. It was the second highest number of home fans we've had at a league game this season, so the support from them, the club and all the sponsors involved in making this day happen was incredible. Just to see Ryan and his family come down and meet the lads will last long in the memory. It puts things in perspective, what he's going through, we’re all so lucky to do what we are doing and today was his day. Unfortunately we couldn’t get the three points for him, but it was a nice atmosphere and I’m sure we’ve made him and his family proud.

It was almost meant to be, to be given your first start as captain after all your hard work on Ryans Royals over the last few months
I was desperate to play in this game today, after all the the hard work that’s been put in to make this a possibility. I was desperate to play. Fortunately enough the gaffer has put me in there, the first time to lead the boys out after being out for so long was a special moment for myself and it was a great day. Unfortunately we didn’t round it off with three points.

Ryan didn't stop smiling all day!
He’s a great lad. He was shy meeting the lads, I think his Mum got a bit of a shock too with Pav strolling around in his pants! It was amazing to get them down, the support we’ve had from the club and Puma, everyone involved has been phenomenal and thank you so much for everyone getting involved.

How did you feel out there, you looked in good nick?
I’ve missed it so much! The adrenalin kicked in and it’s something that I’ve waited for for so long, all the hard work I’ve put in over the summer, over three operations too – it’s been a nightmare. But my family were there today to support me and it’s just so nice to be back. Hopefully I can get a few more appearances under my belt by the end of the season.

You got a great reception from the fans too
The fans have been brilliant. They’ve always backed me. I’ve been here since I was a kid, I love it here, I’ve been here all my career and it was great to see receive the ovation I did – thank you so much to the fans that stuck behind me. It’s another step on the ladder, it’s a long way to go until I’m fighting fit and getting through 90 minutes. But mainly thank you to everyone who’s been involved in Ryans Royals. I can tell you it’s made his day and made his family's day.

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