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Watson puts pen to paper on a new long-term contract

20-year-old full back pledges commitment to the club until 2021

1 February 2018

Promising young defender Tennai Watson has this afternoon signed a new contract with the Royals, keeping him at Madejski Stadium until the summer of 2021.

Royals boss Jaap Stam said, “Tennai is a promising young full-back with a lot of potential, so it’s good news that he has signed a new deal with the club. He has pace, key defensive qualities and he likes to get forward when he can, so I look forward to seeing him make more progress once he returns to full fitness after his injury.”

Watson, 20, has emerged from the Academy ranks at Reading – notably playing a part in our historic Under-18s’ FA Youth Cup run to the semi-final stages back in 2014, which saw the Royals beat Liverpool in the last eight only to narrowly lose out over two legs against Fulham.

He went on to impress at Under-21 and Under-23 level and he began to train with the Royals’ first team in April 2016, when he was given squad number 43 ahead of our first team league meeting with Leeds United at Elland Road.

And Watson was included in the matchday squad for three of the final four first team fixtures that season, before signing a two-year professional contract with the club that summer.

On the opening day of the following season, Jaap Stam handed Tennai his professional debut when he came on to replace Jordan Obita in the second half of a home win over Preston North End.

And his first start followed three days later in a 2-0 home win over Plymouth Argyle in the EFL Cup. He continued to feature in the first team squad on a regular basis throughout the course of our 2016-17 campaign, making 4(+3) appearances which included a cup start against Arsenal at The Emirates and a league win over Huddersfield Town.

Illness and injury unfortunately struck towards the end of his breakthrough season, however the right-back has worked hard on his road to recovery and has now returned to training, whilst also earning minutes in four recent Under-23 matches.

Chief Executive Ron Gourlay said, “Tennai is another young footballer who has come through our Academy system to break into the first team and he is held in very high regard at Reading. I look forward to seeing him take the next step in his career as a Royal.”

Technical Director Brian Tevreden added, “Despite a spell on the sidelines this season, Tennai has remained a positive throughout his recovery and, as we saw last season, is a very talented young full-back who I am sure can go on to make a big impact as a Reading player in the future. I’m very pleased he has committed the next three-and-a-half years to what we’re trying to achieve here at Reading.”

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