Winger pens new three and a half year contract with the clubReading Football Club are delighted to announce that Garath McCleary has signed a new long-term contract with the Royals, keeping him at Madejski Stadium until the summer of 2020.
Our top scorer so far this season, 29-year-old McCleary’s contract was due to expire at the end of the current campaign but the Jamaican international has committed his future to the club he first joined back in May 2012.
Royals boss Jaap Stam said, “I’m very happy that Garath has signed a new deal – he has been a very important player for us this season, not only in the goals that he has scored but also in the assists he has provided to others in the squad.
“A lot of clubs nowadays are looking for players with the qualities he has - his pace, his ability on the ball and the threat he poses in and around the opposition penalty box. So it is great news that he has signed this new contract at the club.”
The Oxford-born winger began life as a young footballer with both Oxford United and Oxford City as a teenager before joining Slough Town in 2005. McCleary moved to Bromley in 2007 where he impressed Nottingham Forest manager Colin Calderwood, and he was offered a trial and a professional contract at Forest.
It was at the City Ground he established himself as a goalscoring wide man and he notably scored six goals in March 2012 – four of which came in a 7-3 thriller at Elland Road! The pacy winger was understandably named Championship Player of the Month and was voted as Forest’s Player of the Season ahead of a switch to newly-promoted Reading that summer.
And he immediately impressed in a Reading shirt, firing four goals in his first season as a Royal – including Premier League strikes against Fulham, Norwich and West Ham.
The following season, McCleary made more than 40 appearances, scoring five times – the pick of the bunch being an unforgettable volley against Burnley at the Madejski Stadium on the final day of the season. It was a goal that Royals supporters voted as Goal of the 2013-14 campaign.
The following year, McCleary scored another special goal in Reading Football Club history – our only ever FA Cup semi-final goal! The Arsenal fan fired past Wojciech Szczesny to equalise against the Gunners and take the cup holders to extra time at Wembley.
He ended that season with games against the likes of Edinson Cavani, Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain and Carlos Tevez as McCleary made his mark in the international scene with Jamaica – Garath has featured prominently for the Reggae Boyz during two Copa America campaigns whilst also reaching the final of the Gold Cup in 2015.
McCleary now has 25 goals to his name during a Royals career that now totals more than 170 appearances – and eight of those goals have been scored this season, including a five-minute brace in the 3-0 win at Wigan in November.
The fleet-footed forward also tops our assist chart, having teed up six more goals for his teammates this season and securing his services for the next three and a half years will come as great news to the Royals faithful.