Homegrown talent commit to the clubWe are delighted to announce that 15 of our young players have signed new professional deals at Reading Football Club.
Amongst that number are Lewis Ward, Zak Jules, George Legg, Sean Long, Shane Griffin, Liam Kelly, Aaron Kuhl, Rob Dickie and Dominic Hyam – all of whom have signed extensions to their existing pro deals with the Royals.
And after finishing their Academy scholarships with the Under-18s this year, Ryan East, Harrison Bennett, Joe Tupper, Billy Collings, Omar Richards and Luke Southwood have all penned their very first professional contracts this week. Thomas McIntyre, who enters the final year with our Under-18 squad this season, has also put pen to paper on a pro deal.
In addition to this number, a further five players – Axel Andresson, Josh Barrett, Conor Davis, Gabriel Osho and Sindri Scheving – had already committed to professional contracts with the club and have now graduated from our Under-18 squad.
Our Academy continues to produce talented young footballers who are capable of staking a claim in first-team affairs. 39 homegrown players have represented our senior squad the Academy was established in 1999 – and three of those have reached the quarter-final stage of this summer’s European Championships with their countries.
In the last 12 months, our youngsters have enjoyed success against some of the biggest clubs in England. Reading finished second in the Barclays Under-18 Premier League (South) and reached the quarter-final of the FA Youth Cup, and many of our Under-21s made pro debuts on loan at other Football League clubs, as well as earning some impressive victories in the Barclays Under-21 Premier League against the likes of Liverpool, Everton and Tottenham.
So it is with great pride that we can announce that so many of our young players remain with us in 2016/17.
Acting Academy Manager Lee Herron said: “We are delighted that these players have committed again to the football club. It gives them another opportunity along their pathway to develop further. The Under-21 section of our football club is really important and it has seen players move from there into our first team in the past.
“They are at that crossroads where they can settle down again and really show what they are about. With the new manager Jaap Stam coming in as well, that offers a fantastic opportunity for them to show their qualities as young players. Hopefully they will progress on to where they want to go.”