Andy Rinomhota described his delight at making his first league start as a Royal at the weekend, with a 3-2 win over Bristol City topping off a fine appearance from the youngster.
Having been given his debut last season in the Carabao Cup, Rinomhota has worked his way through the ranks to become a permanent part of the first-team squad over the last few months, regularly making the matchday squad this season.
While he has mostly been a substitute, he made his league debut for the club in a late cameo at Preston in September, but was rewarded for his hard work with a start at Madejski Stadium over the weekend.
Speaking after the match, Rinomhota said: “It was an unbelievable feeling to get my first league start today, I’m thankful to the gaffer for putting me in and having faith in me, and I think I went out, proved myself and did a good job.
“I’ve been in the squad a few times and in training I’ve just been working hard, doing the same things and when I’m on the bench, if I come on I try to make an impact and I’m just glad to have been put in today.
“I’ve learned a lot. I’ve been in and around it for a while, but this season I’ve been cemented in fully. From being on the bench and things, I’ve learned a lot from the manager and the other players.
“It’s been nice to pick up experience from them and it all helped me when I came into the side.”
Rinomhota had a familiar partner in midfield on Saturday, lining up alongside Liam Kelly to reprise their partnership from their time together in our Under-23s.
The midfielder, 21, said it was a natural fit for the two to play together, having already developed a working understanding with each other in years gone by.
“I’ve been playing with Liam for a few years now, so I know how he plays, he knows how I play, we have that partnership and we work well together," he added.
“I think we worked well today and then he went on and scored an unbelievable goal himself!
“It was just about switching on and making sure the little mistakes stop, thankfully we came through and got the three points – that’s all that matters.
“I’m used to playing here at the stadium, so it was nice to make my first league start here at home. I had a nice reception from the fans when I came off as well, so thanks to them.
Attention turned to Eamonn Dolan, former Academy Manager and the man who brought Rinomhota to the club as a teenager.
With his memory now honoured in having his name on the North Stand, as well as plenty of happy memories from his time at the club, Rinomhota said he is grateful for the opportunity Eamonn gave him in bringing him to Reading in the first place.
“It’s a shame Eamonn’s not here, he’s the one who brought me in and I can’t thank him enough for what he did.
“It’s a shame he’s not around now, we’ve got his stand set up with all the fans in there as well, so it was nice to get that start today.
“I just hope to keep on going, keep pushing on and hopefully become a regular, keep fighting for my place and see what I can do from there.”