Barrett, Moore and Loader recognised after outstanding seasonsAcademy trio Josh Barrett, Stuart Moore and Danny Loader were the recipients of Reading FC Academy awards on Saturday afternoon for their efforts within our youth set-up this season.
Barrett was awarded with the Maurice Evans Memorial Trophy as the Best Academy Scholar after making his Royals bow at the age of just 17 and representing his country at Under-21 level this season.
Reading stopper Moore picked up the Steve Death Memorial Shield as Best Academy Goalkeeper, capping off a season that has seen him earn his professional debut between the posts out on loan.
Danny Loader was presented with Maurice Edelston Memorial Trophy for Best Academy Schoolboy in an impressive year, that saw the youngster win a penalty at Stamford Bridge as a 15-year-old, punching above his age group against the very best in the FA Youth Cup.
On Saturday afternoon the three award-winners were welcomed onto the pitch at half-time and were presented with their richly-deserved awards in front of the Madejski Stadium crowd.
Royals boss Brian McDermott has been highly complimentary of the Academy and has attended many Under-21 and Under-18s matches since his return to the Reading in November. “We've got loads of good youngsters coming through again - and we've got a lot to be grateful for here, with the success of our Academy. I hope the fans know that there are a lot of young players coming through the ranks once more at this club and that there is a lot to look forward to, there really is.”
Maurice Evans Memorial Trophy – Best Academy Scholar
Six goals in our first seven Barclays Under-18 Premier League games this season was just the start of an incredible campaign for attacking midfielder Josh Barrett. Captaining David Dodds’ side to a string of wins that ultimately led to a second-place finish in the top tier’s southern section and, in the FA Youth Cup, the versatile forward was instrumental in guiding our youngsters to inspirational wins against Sheffield United, Fulham and Wolves to take our cup run to Stamford Bridge where we narrowly lost in the quarter-final.
Barrett, but this stage, was impressing for our Under-21s – despite still being only 17 years of age – and he scored his first goal form Martin Kuhl’s men in a 2-0 win at Everton last month. And Brian McDermott recognised a burgeoning talent, naming the youngster on the first team bench for a home fixture against Burnley and then an FA Cup Fifth Round tie against Tony Pulis’ West Bromwich Albion. His faith in the youngster grew even further when Barrett made his first team debut at Huddersfield, coming off the bench at the John Smith’s Stadium to make his professional bow for the Royals. And besides that success, the Republic of Ireland youth international made his debut for his country’s Under-21 side in March, coming off the bench in their UEFA Under-21 Championships Qualifying Round defeat to Slovenia in Koper little more than a week ago. A worthy winner.
Maurice Edelston Memorial Trophy – Best Academy Schoolboy
Danny started and ended this season in fine, fine form for his country. A promising forward being nurtured by our Category One Academy, Loader scored two of England Under-16s three goals in a high-scoring draw against the USA at St George’s Park back in mid-August…and the 15-year-old, who has featured for our Under-18s this season despite his tender age – also stole the headlines for Dan Micciche’s young Lions when he grabbed the winner against
Russia last month! In between he netted another for England in a Nike international friendly against the US in December, and he has impressed in blue and white hoops too – coming off the bench to win a penalty in our FA Youth Cup quarter-final against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge earlier this year! Danny had come on in a previous round and helped the Royals edge past Sheffield United with a crucial goal in extra time, and he is one of a number of young players who are held in high regard by our Academy coaches. Loader was handed his debut for the Reading-U21s in their final game of the season against Man City at Madejski Stadium on April 11th, to cap off what was an impressive season for the youngster!
Steve Death Memorial Shield – Best Academy Goalkeeper
Stuart Moore is the latest in a long line of promising young goalkeepers who has come through the much-admired Royals ranks to, this season, make his professional debut on loan at League One Peterborough United. Having played for both our Under-18s and Under-21s sides before the start of the 2015-16 season, the brother of Cardiff City stopper Simon Moore featured in the side that won the inaugural Premier League Cup for Martin Kuhl’s men a couple of seasons ago. Previous experience of men's football had been gained with loan spells at Gloucester City, Bath City and then Basingstoke Town – making 48 appearances en route to the end of season play-offs for the local non-league side last season before returning to Reading for the start of the new campaign.
An injury ruled him out of our pre-season plans, but he made his first team breakthrough when he was named on the bench for Capital One Cup clashes against Portsmouth and Everton before three call-ups to the first team squad in October. At the end of February, he was loaned out to Peterborough and he started between the sticks at home to Swindon to make his professional bow at London Road –and he would play three more times during a month-long spell with Posh. Our goalkeeping future seems in safe hands…