Defender reflects on comprehensive victory against SaddlersThe Royals ran out 4-0 victors against Walsall on Saturday, booking a place in the fifth round of the FA Cup. The game had been tight until Hal Robson-Kanu and Matej Vydra scored in quick succession towards the end of the first half – and defender Anton Ferdinand felt that passage to the next stage was just reward for a professional approach to the game.
Reading kept the Saddlers’ attack quiet at one end, and scored four differing but equally admirable goals at the other to ensure that our number will be in the hat at the expense of our visitors from League 1.
“To still be in the hat in the FA Cup – one of the most decorated cup competitions worldwide – is fantastic,” said Ferdinand.
“It was a good performance. As a defender, a clean sheet is always nice. We’ve got to build and take these performances into the league, and if we do then we’ll be very happy.
“Sometimes these are the hardest games to play in. You have to motivate yourself, get up for the game, and make sure you’re at it personally. Everyone on the whole did that today.
“Games where you’re playing against lower-league teams, there are going to be times when the game is scrappy – you have to stay in there, because that’s their type of game. We stayed in there, we concentrated, and we got our rewards.”
The game was broken up early on when Aaron Tshibola – playing for the first time in three months, after injury – suffered another setback and had to be withdrawn. But Anton is backing his midfield teammate to bounce back again.
“It was horrible to see that,” said the defender of Aaron’s injury. “Tish is a great lad and a great young prospect for this club. People don’t see the hard work that he put in off the pitch to get back to where he was today, starting a game.
“He’ll come back stronger, mentally and physically. It’s a learning curve for someone so young – and the fact that he knows he can do it will be fantastic. But he also knows that he has got senior players like myself that he can come and speak to. But we’ve got a great medical team in place and I’m sure he’ll be fine.”
And who does Anton want to draw out of the hat in the next round, when the balls are drawn on Sunday evening?
“I’ll wait to see who we’ve got – but for me personally, I’d like to get West Ham away at Upton Park! Next year they won’t be playing there anymore, so personally I’d like that. But whatever comes out, comes out.”