Reading's new keeper is eager to get to work...New Royals stopper Anssi Jaakkola is looking forward to getting started with Reading, and was very pleased to be returning to the UK.
The 6ft 5in goalkeeper who plied his trade with Kilmarnock between 2011 and 2013 is very excited about his new challenge in the Sky Bet Championship.
“It feels great to be here and back in the UK, I’m very excited and eager to get to work,” said the 29-year-old. “Everything happened pretty quickly.
“This league is one of the toughest leagues in the world, if you look at the teams competing in the coming season, the likes of Newcastle and Aston Villa, there’s us and others like QPR, so there are lots of teams competing for promotion.
“You could easily find 10 teams at the beginning of the season that will be fighting to go up so it’s really exciting to be here.”
Jaakkola is an admirer of Ali Al-Habsi’s work between the posts and is looking forward to working alongside the Omani keeper as the pair compete for a first team spot.
“I know Ali and have seen him playing for Wigan in the Premier League so I know he is a great goalkeeper. I’m looking forward to pushing him and pushing myself to fight for the number one jersey.
“I can’t wait to meet the team now, get to know the guys and get back on the pitch.”
The Finnish glovesman is well travelled in his career to date, and has a vast amount of experience to bring to Jaap Stam’s side.
Having spent the last couple of years in South Africa with Ajax Cape Town, Jaakkola admitted the move back to the UK was a popular one with his family.
“I think this is the sixth country I’ve played in,” reflected Jaakkola. “I spent the last two years of my career in Cape Town in South Africa.
“That was a really nice experience both with the football and experiencing a different type of culture and way of life, I enjoyed my time there. I also won the League Cup in South Africa so it has been a good season.”
“My wife is Scottish, so moving back here is a little closer to home, and my daughter was born in the UK three years ago and hasn’t been home since so it’s nice for her to be back.”