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Niall Keown pens three-year contract

14 July 2015

Young Academy product signs until summer of 2018

The Royals can announce that 20-year-old defender Niall Keown has today committed his future to Reading Football Club by signing a three-year deal at Madejski Stadium.

Keown formed part of the squad that travelled to Bangkok and Koh Samui last week, starting at centre-back alongside Anton Ferdinand in a 2-2 draw with an impressive Thailand All Stars side last Wednesday.

Royals boss Steve Clarke said, “Niall has progressed well through the Academy and has very good defensive attributes. He is tenacious in his challenges both in the air and on the ground and deservedly made his full first team debut at Watford last season.

“Whilst recognising that there is still a lot to work on, it’s good that he has committed to Reading for the next three years as we feel that he has the potential to become a regular member of our first team squad.”

The 20-year-old defender joined our Academy in 2011 and immediately starred in our under-18s team, soon graduating to the under-21s side ahead of others in his age group.

Captaining the under-21s and scoring against Manchester City in February 2014 aptly demonstrated the swift progress he was making in blue and white hoops.

And, last season, Niall - the son of former Arsenal and England star Martin - scored the winning goal against the Gunners at the Emirates Stadium in April as Martin Kuhl’s under-21s side won promotion to the top tier of the Under-21 Premier League competition.

Keown played an integral part in an incredible seven-match winning run towards the end of last season, keeping clean sheets in six of those games to propel the under-21s into a top-two spot.

And as a result of his consistent performances with the under-21s, Keown came off the bench to make his professional debut in the dying stages of a 2-1 home win over Brighton before playing the full ninety minutes for Steve Clarke’s side at Vicarage Road the following weekend.

Niall was also called into the Republic of Ireland’s under-21 squad for a European qualifier against Andorra towards the end of last season, eligible to play international football for the Irish through connections with his paternal grandmother.

Chief Executive Nigel Howe said, "Last season, Niall became one of a record eleven Academy graduates to make his first team debut for the club and he fully deserves this new contract as a young player we have high hopes for in the future."

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