Reading Football Club are delighted to announce that young striker Sam Smith has put pen to paper on a new contract with the Royals, keeping the Academy graduate in RG2 until the summer of 2021.
Manager Jaap Stam said, “I remember, at the start of the season, speaking with Sam about his future and how he wanted to progress. We took him with us to Holland and he made a good impression, so we wanted to work with him in the first team squad and see how he progressed throughout the course of the season.
"Since then he has come off the bench in both cup competitions, started a couple of league games for the first team and scored his first professional goal - and there is no doubt that Sam is a promising player who, in signing this new deal, can hopefully continue to make good progress and do well for Reading Football Club in the future."
Arriving in Reading after an early spell in the youth system at Manchester United, Sam was handed his first professional contract in the summer of 2016 before enjoying a loan stint at Bishop’s Stortford to earn his first experience of competitive football.
Smith made his professional debut as a Royal when handed a first team start in a 2-0 Carabao Cup win over Gillingham at the start of the season and, two weeks later, he had scored his first goal in Reading colours – lashing high past Millwall goalkeeper Tom King at Madejski Stadium to seal a 3-1 victory over the Lions in the same competition.
He made his league bow when he came off the bench in a 2-0 win at Birmingham City, replacing Jon Dadi Bodvarsson at St Andrew’s at the end of August.
And the Manchester-born striker returned to first team action to earn his first league start at home to Middlesbrough before featuring from the first whistle in a 3-1 home win over Nottingham Forest as October ended with three points for the Royals.
He has led the line for our Under-23s when not in the first team squad this season, scoring four goals in six starts under Scott Marshall. And amongst his haul of seven in 13(+7) appearances for the Under-23s last season was the second in a 2-0 Premier League 2 win over his former side Manchester United.
Most recently, Sam returned from injury to come off the bench for his FA Cup debut at Hillsborough, sliding in to make sure Mo Barrow’s deflected cross had crossed the line in the 87th minute of the Fourth Round tie.
And now the young forward has promised his future to Reading for the next three-and-a-half years of his career, following in the footsteps of fellow Academy graduates Andy Rinomhota, Omar Richards, Tennai Watson, Josh Barrett, Tom McIntyre and Gabriel Osho who have all penned long-term deals at the club in recent months.
Chief Executive Ron Gourlay said, “In the opportunities which have been presented to him to date, Sam has certainly demonstrated his ability to lead the line at this level and – at still only 19 years of age – he has the potential to grow into a very good striker. So I am very pleased to have secured the services of another of our talented Academy crop on a long-term contract at Reading.”
Technical Director Brian Tevreden added, “Sam went away to Holland with the group in pre-season and has looked comfortable in the first team environment ever since. He has impressed from the bench and in the starts he has earned so far this season and this new contract is just reward for his hard work. With more hard work, I hope he can make more and more progress and become a better striker with every game he plays…as a Royal.”