20-year-old Andy Rinomhota is one of five Academy players who have made their first team bow this season, effortlessly bridging that gap between Academy and Under-23 football and the cut and thrust of first team action in the Carabao Cup and the Championship.
And he became the latest young star to sign a long-term contract at the club on Friday afternoon, putting pen to paper on a deal which will keep him with the Royals for the next three and a half years.
"It feels great. I’m delighted to extend my deal here at Reading and hopefully I can kick on now," he told iFollow Royals on a blustery afternoon at Hogwood Park
"When I first came into the first team squad this summer, it was a new experience for me and some of the others...new surroundings. But I got my head down and worked hard and thankfully it’s all paying off now."
Rinomhota was one of a number of young players who formed part of our pre-season training camp group in Oosterbeek back in July - he was joined by the likes of goalkeepers Liam Driscoll and Lewis Ward, defender Omar Richards (who has also signed until 2021 in recent days), midfielders Josh Barrett, Ryan East and Tyler Frost and strikers Sam Smith and Danny Loader. In fact exactly half of the 26-man squad out in Holland had hailed from the club's Category One Academy!
Alongside Richards, Loader, Smith and Axel Andresson, Rinomhota has gone on to be included in the first team squad this season and represent Jaap Stam's side in Carabao Cup wins over Gillingham and Millwall.
"It’s worked out quite well because we have all broken into the first team set-up at the same time. We all went on the pre-season tour and really settled in with the first team lads there – they made us feel so welcome.
"It was a new learning curve for all of us I think – but it was good to get in and amongst the first team lads and we learned a lot from the gaffer and the coaching staff out there. So it was easy to settle in.
"And then it was good to get my debut against Gillingham. I had a nervous first ten minutes maybe, but once I got settled I think I did alright. And hopefully I can get a few more appearances now.
"There have always been good links between the first team and the Academy here at Reading, Liam Kelly and Jordan Obita have done it recently of course. So hopefully I can just kick on this season and get some more first team minutes under my belt."