19-year-old full back wants to progress with RoyalsReading academy graduate, Tennai Watson, was delighted to put pen-to-paper on a two year deal for the Royals and spoke to Reading FC PlayerHD about his excitement of committing his future to the club.
“It’s been a great day, I can’t describe the feeling,” said the 19-year-old. “I’m really looking forward to next season now.
“I’m a right-back, so clearly I focus on the defensive side of things, but I love to get forward too. I’m from West London originally and grew up playing football and been chopping and changing positions but right back is obviously where I’ve excelled recently.”
Watson, who has been training regularly with the first team squad in recent weeks, was called up to travel with the team for the first time when the Royals visited to Leeds a couple of weeks ago in the Sky Bet Championship. Manager Brian McDermott named Watson on the bench for the game, an experience the full-back says he will never forget.
“Traveling to Leeds with the first team for the first time was great,” admitted the youngster. “It was nerve-racking and exciting all at the same time! It’s good to have the players and characters we have in the first team to help me relish the experience.
“Training with the first team gives you a chance to really learn a lot from them and when you get into the real training drills it’s really enjoyable. It’s been great experience.“
“A lot of the time you can watch how they play and train and learn a lot from them,” continued Watson. “A lot of the philosophy of the academy is based around analysing players a couple of steps ahead of you and taking on board as much as you can to better your own development.
“Working with Chris Gunter has been a great and with his international experience I’ve definitely been learning a lot from him.”
The right back has been with Reading since Under 15 level, and was full of praise for the Royals academy with the clear pathway it provides for young players looking to progress to the first team – something the defender is desperate to do himself.
“The step from U18s to U21s is pretty big but they ease you into it and it’s the same philosophy that I’ve been taught from a young age. I think they’ve put me in good stead and now it’s time to kick on and see where I can go.
“A lot of the coaches when you’re coming through the youth ranks use players like Jordan Obita and Aaron Tishbola as examples to motivate you, they highlight players who have come through the system and are now first team regulars. It really shows a pathway for you and your career if you put in the time and effort,” commented Watson.
“I’ve been on the bench a couple of times recently and I’m hoping sooner rather than later I can get on the pitch, but like I said that’s up to the manager and obviously have to prove myself.
“With the manager discussing building something long term and a new two year contract I’m hoping I can become part of those long term plans. I think the main thing for me is to come back in the pre-season firing and try kick on. I’m definitely hoping to be a part of it but that’s obviously up to the manager and I have to prove myself on the pitch first.
“My family have been a really big part of my footballing career, supporting me and pushing me and without them I wouldn’t have been able to do half the things I do.
“A lot of it is motivational, of course I’m a very self - motivated person, but they’ve been a really good factor. My mum, my dad, my brother and sisters have been really good, friends too. It’s been a really good year and they’ve all been really supportive.”