Gaffer talks through striker’s headers against BlackburnIt seems something of an anomaly that, before our midweek game against Blackburn, only one of Yann Kermorgant’s goals this season had come from a header.
But the Frenchman turned his aerial ability into a first-half brace to set us on our way to a 14th home Championship win of the season on Tuesday evening – and Reading boss Jaap Stam was full of praise of his forward.
“You know with Yann about what his qualities are,” said the gaffer. “We’ve said many times that if the crosses are in the right position, his timing is great. He is a threat in the box and he works very hard. He isn’t the biggest, but his timing is fantastic – he is a great header of the ball.
“We’ve spoken about it all season – delivering crosses and giving him those balls when he’s in the right position. If you deliver crosses like that, he can finish them with class. I was a defender, and I think it’s easier to head a ball as a defender because you don’t really need to think about where to put it sometimes.
“When you’re attacking it, you have to think about where the ball is coming from, the height and speed, the defender near you, where the goalkeeper is, the angle you need to direct it… and you have to do all of that in a split-second.
“Yann’s heading is very precise. And he is very important for the team in everything that he does.”
The 35-year-old striker has been part of promotion-winning teams before – most recently as 2015, when he won the Championship with AFC Bournemouth.
And the manager revealed that the forward as hungry as ever for success – and has been using his experience within the confines of the dressing room.
“He speaks to the young players, and also the older ones, and he makes them aware of what can happen and how nice it can be if you do well,” continued Jaap.
“You need to have players that can make other players aware of that, and he is doing that for us.”