Skipper McShane discusses return in Wolves drawRoyals club captain Paul McShane was happy to be back to competitive action on Saturday, helping the defensive unit to a clean sheet in a goalless draw against Wolves.
The skipper, who was making his first start in over a month, made a telling block to keep the visiting defence out right at the end, as well as making a few vital interceptions at various points in the afternoon.
“That’s what I’m there for – I’m there to defend and I quite enjoy doing it, so I’m glad that I made those blocks and tackles,” he said. “I’ve been out for the last four weeks or so, so it was nice to get back out onto the pitch and get used to the surroundings and the games again.
“It was a frustrating four weeks or so – I haven’t started since the Bristol City game, so it was good to be back. You worry when you’re out for a bit of a long time, wondering whether you can play as good – so it’s good to be back playing games. Hopefully I can play now as much as I can until the end of the season.”
McShane’s injury paved the way for Jake Cooper to get some game-time – and the ex-Academy centre-half, nine years his junior, was his defensive partner against Wolves. As well as praising the progress of his young protégé, McShane also spoke about the influence that George Evans, Yann Kermorgant and Deniss Rakels have had since their transfer window arrival.
“Coops has done really well in the games that I’ve seen,” said the captain. “He’s still young, but he’s very dominate in the air – he’s about eight foot tall! It’s good to play alongside him because he has that aerial dominance, and he’s also very good with the ball.
“He has had to be patient during the season, but I’ve seen him day-in day-out, and I think he’s definitely a credit to Reading Football Club. He’s a good character and a good lad, and he has a great character attitude towards the game.
“The new lads have definitely given us a bit of a spark. Yann is an experienced fella and I’ve played against him many a time. He’s the hardest Frenchman I know! He’s a big signing for us and he’s a handful for defenders.
“George has come in and he’s got potential as a midfielder, and Deniss looks very good – I like the look of him in training and he did very well when he came on today and made a bit of a difference. He put himself about and I’m looking forward to seeing more of him.”
All that was missing for the captain was a maximum return – chances at either end were spurned in difficult conditions of swirling wind and driving rain.
“It’s mixed emotions really. We’re a bit disappointed that we haven’t picked up all three points because we’re at home – we want to win all of our games at home. It was one of those games that could have gone either way, but we’ll have to settle for a point.
“The wind is the worst condition you can ask for – the rain and all sorts of other weather is fine. But the wind is the worst – it’s hard to judge balls in the air and stuff like that. But it’s the same for both teams and you have to get on with it.
“It’s always good to get a clean sheet, and as a defender that’s what you want. I suppose that is one of the positives that we can take away from today, but it’s just unfortunate that we didn’t go on to take all three points.”