Long, Church, Robson-Kanu and Sigurdsson all qualify for the next stagePart of the legacy which Eamonn Dolan gave to our club was a rich pool of talented footballers that have succeeded with Reading and beyond – some of which have become leading lights for their respective countries.
And we know that he would be proud to see no less than four of the boys that learned their trade under his tutelage at Hogwood Park competing in the last 16 of this year’s European Championships!
Shane Long, Simon Church, Hal Robson-Kanu and Gylfi Sigurdsson all had their careers kick-started with the help of our Academy Manager. And now they will feature in the biggest games of their international careers later this week.
It has been an incredibly emotional week for all concerned with our Academy when we lost Eamonn on Monday evening.
But earlier that day we had been able to announce with pride that our Academy had retained its Category 1 status, in no small part thanks to the work that he had contributed in his 12 years with the club.
And it is another feather in the cap for our youth system to see four of our own contributing so much for their countries on Europe’s top table.
Robson-Kanu was the first to write headlines when he poached the winning goal against Slovakia in the opening fixture for Wales. His countryman Simon Church made his tournament debut when he replaced Gareth Bale in a 3-0 win against Russia in their final game.
Icelander Gylfi Sigurdsson, who hit a crucial goal from the penalty spot against Hungary, helped to take his team to the next stage a set up a meeting with England, while Shane Long has been leading the line in his typical all-action fashion for Ireland – culminating with a 1-0 win against Italy.
So our congratulations to must go to those players for their achievements to date; it just further enhances the reputation of our Academy as one of the best places in the country to nurture fledgling talent. And best of luck to all concerned in the knock-out stages!