Striker prepared to be patient for next chanceDom Samuel is prepared to bide his time as he bids to nail down a regular place in Reading's first-team squads.
The 20-year-old made his first senior appearance of the season on Saturday, coming off the bench after 77 minutes in the FA Cup victory over Huddersfield Town.
And the powerful frontman is targeting more opportunities amongst the senior ranks, though he is willing to drop back into the U21s if necessary.
He said: “It always is pleasing representing the first team, especially if you’ve been away from it for a while. Coming on is always good and you feel like you have earned it by putting in the hard work.
“Obviously that doesn’t stop there; I have to keep going and hopefully get more matches with the first team. It’s good that manager is trying out different things and having faith in different players.
“He wouldn’t have seen me play before he came in and hopefully I made a good impression on Saturday. He has been speaking to me a lot in training. Everything is going well at the moment.
“I really enjoyed my chance but I’ve got to keep going with the 21s too. If the gaffer wants me to go back there then I’ve just got to keep scoring and putting in the hard work. It doesn’t stop. I’ve got to keep working hard until the end of the season.
The arrival of Steve Clarke as first-team boss has been of huge benefit to Samuel, with the new gaffer having previously worked with the likes of Luis Suarez and Didier Drogba.
“It’s a blessing,” said Samuel. “He’s been working with some of the best strikers in the world and if I can learn what he taught to the likes of Luis Suarez, then I can look forward to the future.
“Since he’s been here, everyone has learned a lot from him in a very short space of time. We all want to get better and learn many more things from him.
“His training session have been really possession based so far. Five asides, seven asides, four v fours and little keep ball sessions. That has helped a lot of the boys and made us more confident on the ball. We want to take that into our games and start to out-pass teams.”
Given how many young Royals have made the transition into first-team football during the last two seasons, Samuel is hoping to be the next to secure a regular spot in Clarke’s squads.
“It’s possible,” he said “Since all of the other young players have got their chance, that is always a realistic possibility. That’s what Reading is all about; they produce good, young players and give youngsters a chance.
“It helps every youngster’s confidence, being at Reading, because you are given opportunities to put your ability on show. The gaffer has given us all of a lot of confidence by including us, because it lets us all know that we’re in the his plans. It boosts us all.
“It makes us want to work harder to get to where we want to be, which is in Reading’s first team. It’s a good thing that he’s putting youngsters around the side because it is filling everyone with confidence at the moment.”