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Jaap happy to see youngsters adopting first team mentality

Royals' manager is hoping to see young Royals progress this season...

18 July 2017

Jaap Stam says he is always on the lookout for the next big talent to come out of Reading FC's Academy.

Nine of the travelling party at the Royals' training camp in Holland are Academy graduates which are yet to make a competitive appearance for the senior squad - almost all of them featured for 90 minutes of football against Belgian top-flight side KV Kortrijk on Saturday.

While the match ended in a narrow 1-0 defeat for a somewhat inexperienced Royals side in Oosterbeek, manager Stam is happy to see how the youngsters are mixing with the first team.

“We’re always looking for young players," he said. "When we joined the club last season, everybody knew that we came from Holland, from a certain team that was working with young players as well.

“We liked to do that, and of course we’ve got a very good Academy and we like to bring in young players as well.

“Also, because we haven’t got the money to buy loads and loads of players, we need to use these players otherwise it’s not worth having an Academy, I think.

“If you’ve seen in the first game, we’ve got quality players in our Academy and the players know that very well."

Liam Driscoll, Ryan East, Tyler Frost, George Legg, Lewis Ward, Danny Loader, Omar Richards, Andy Rinomhota and Sam Smith all made the trip over to Holland, with just a handful of Checkatrade Trophy appearances between them in playing adult football so far.

With the meteoric rise of Academy product, Liam Kelly, through the ranks at the start of last season, the Royals' manager has not ruled out a similar experience for any of the young players in Holland who can make the step up this season.

“With some players, it goes very quick that they are there, with others it takes a bit longer," Stam explained.

"But if you look at the players individually in how they are, they’ve done well in the training sessions with the first team squad.

“They’ve adapted to the first team squad in knowing what to do, and that can only make them stronger. They want to get to the first team squad eventually.

“By being here, getting better, learning a lot of things from the experienced players as well, they become better players and eventually, hopefully for them and for Reading as a club, they can make that step into the first team.

“That’s what we’re aiming for, that’s what they’re aiming for, and that’s what we’re supporting."

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