Youngster reflects on Swindon win21-year-old forward Craig Tanner is trying to make the most of his opportunities with the Royals’ first-team during pre-season under new manager Jaap Stam.
The Academy graduate, who has been at the club since the age of eight, spent last season on loan in League 2 with Plymouth Argyle – but after returning from his temporary spell in Devon, he has been involved in manager’s first three matchday squads during pre-season.
After coming off the bench in friendlies against Boreham Wood and Al-Taawoun, the youngster played the entirety in a 2-1 victory against Swindon on Tuesday evening (no small ask on the hottest day of the year!) and he hopes that he and some of the other young homegrown players can give the manager food for thought going into the new campaign.
“I thought we showed a lot of character after going a goal down to a League 1 team,” Tanner said. “I thought they were very good and moved the ball well; our subs came on and Jack Stacey made an impact and we got the result.
“It’s only one game, so I don’t think we’re going to get carried away, but maybe we’ll plant a seed in the manager’s head that the Academy boys are there and we’re learning what sort of patterns of play he wants to do, and that if he wants us to step up we can – and hopefully do the job.
“You can easily play 50-plus games in a season, and especially around Christmas-time your squad gets tested the most. I think the more players who all know how the gaffer wants to play, it allows him to chop and change without much hassle and that puts us in good stead.
“And it’s always nice to get the 90 minutes in. It was a bit of a struggle in that heat… I thought I could have done with it being 10 degrees lower! But at the end of the day it is all about fitness at the moment so I’m happy getting on whenever I can. I think I lost about 20kg – my body-fat is okay now!”