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Barrett hails ‘unbelievable’ Academy after pro debut

11 March 2016

Midfielder reflects on first-team bow

It has been a whirlwind few months for Under-18 midfielder Josh Barrett – as well as captaining the youth side to the quarter-final of the FA Youth Cup, he has also played a number of occasions for the Under-21s, as well as getting his first involvements on the bench for the first-team matchday squad.

That culminated on Tuesday as he made his bow for the first-team from the bench, replacing Chris Gunter in the late stages of Reading’s visit to Huddersfield to become the latest in a long line of Academy alumni to make a pro appearance for Reading.

“Since you’re a young boy, this is what you want to be doing – travelling away with the first team,” Josh said after the match.  “Obviously I’m still only 17 so I’ve got a lot more time to come, but I’m thankful that tonight I’ve got my chance.

“I had a few touches, but it’s a hard game to come on in when you’re 2-0 down.  There’s only so much you can do, but it’s a great night and a proud night for me.

“The Academy at Reading is unbelievable.  They bring through so many players, so hopefully I’m the next one to come through.  I’ve got to keep working hard, hopefully keep training with the first team every day, and keep pushing forward – and then when I get my chances, take them.”

His debut came after three appearances as an unused sub – the first of which came back in December when the squad travelled up to Preston.  “That was a bit of a surprise for me!” Josh recalled, “I was on the way home from an Under-18 game, and I got a call saying that I’d be travelling with the first team, which was a massive shock for me.

“But these are the times when you have to react.  You have to recover quickly, get straight back into training with the first team, and prove why you should be there.”

And now he is hopeful that he can keep on an upward trajectory and earn more opportunities to get involved – as well as paying tribute to those that have helped him get to this stage in his career.

“I know that I’ve got to keep pushing forward now – I can’t stop on this,” he continued.  “I want to push higher and maybe be the next player to come through from the Academy.

“The coaches at Reading are all great – they’ve helped me so much.  I’ve had so many ups and downs and they have helped me through everything.  I’ll try to keep pushing forward now, and I’ll still have them here to help me – it’s a great club.”

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