Young stopper aiming to follow in footsteps of rich Royal keeping historyReading Football Club's new 22-year-old goalkeeper, Jonathan Bond, is ready to accept the challenge and compete in a battle for the number one spot at Madejski Stadium this season.
Former Watford stopper Bond was brought in by manager Steve Clarke on the weekend before the squad flew out on their pre-season trip to Thailand, but Bond took a whirlwind start to his Reading career completely in his stride and impressed both in training and out on the pitch in Bangkok.
“It’s been a really quick start," he told BBC Radio Berkshire after one of his first training sessions out in Thailand. "I literally signed on the Saturday and was told we’d be flying out Sunday, so I had to get my stuff together quickly, but I was really happy to do that so I could get started.
“Obviously this was a great opportunity to travel out there and to get to know the lads a little better, not to mention a chance to get some good playing time under all our belts...and it was a great experience.
“I've settled quite quickly. I know Chris Gunter from when I was a young player with Wales and then I know Jordan Obita from when we went to Toulon with England together last summer.
"So I knew a couple of the lads before I arrived. But even if I hadn't known anyone here, the players have all been really good to me and I feel at home already.”
Bond is well aware of the excellent goalkeeping pedigree the club has enjoyed over a number of years, but he is relishing the pressure on him to perform and the challenge for the first team gloves with Ali Al-Habsi this season.
“This is a big club for producing goalkeepers," he said. "I know Alex McCarthy reasonably well and obviously Federici had a great season here last year - so there are big gloves to fill in many ways. But I feel confident in myself and in my ability.
“I don’t feel under too much pressure. I just want to show the fans the type of goalkeeper I am, what strengths I have, and look to cement myself in the team and show what I can do.”
“At Watford I didn’t play as many games as I would have liked, but we got promoted so it was a good season in terms of the end product. And when I played, I felt I played really well.
"So the next stage in my development is about playing regular football. Hopefully I can get that here, and progress my career in the right way.
“Dave Beasant, the new goalkeeping coach, he’s made me feel really comfortable and really welcome. He’s been great. And Ali Al-Habsi is also at a great standard, with massive experience - so they’re both really good guys.
"If you can achieve a great working environment, for goalkeepers, it’s really helpful during the season. I’m just looking to impress the manager, impress the coaching staff, and obviously show them what I'm capable of.”