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Academy Life | "Producing young professionals is part of this club's culture"

Ged Roddy on the bright future that lies ahead for the Royals Academy...

15 October 2018

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Our Category One Academy has certainly produced in the past - 47 players have come through the Academy ranks to represent the Royals' first team and there are sure to be more...because producing young talent is part of this club's identity.

“That is the pressure part to this job," Academy Manager Ged Roddy smiled.

"Because, I know what we’ve done in the past and that we’ve got to keep doing it in the future.

“We’ve got to keep doing it because it’s part of our culture as a club

"But we’ve also got to do it because as a business model it makes sense to grow your own and I think, as a club, we’ve always been good at that.

“Along with the names all the fans have heard of, who have either been involved in first team squads this season or who are impressing for our Under-23s right now, I could probably name a dozen more underneath them that are coming through - all of whom all a part of the bright future we’re looking forward to.

“On any given Sunday, you’ll look out onto the pitches at Hogwood Park and see the Under-9s, 10s, 11s - and, of all the things we do, that’s probably the most enjoyable – when you see the real young ones coming in and wearing a Reading shirt for the first time.

“I don’t know that people are really aware of it, but 70% of the players that come through to our first team from the Academy start here at the age of eight!


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"So they come on this long journey, all the way through to the first team, that’s quite unique about our club and it’s great!

“So when on a Sunday you see them running around at the start of that journey, you can look at them and go ‘actually, one of these will play for Reading’.

"You can’t necessarily say that when you go to other clubs."

The young players are getting the best development on and off the pitch under Roddy and his team of hard-working staff at Reading - and the environment in which they are learning is due to become even more impressive!

“I took a couple of the lads up to Bearwood last week – we’re very keen to get across to the new training ground as an Academy! So we had a little drive over to see how progress is moving forward.

“The pitches are being laid now and I think our Academy games will start to be played over there very soon all being wwell.

"It’s very exciting for the club and a massive statement of intent from our owners, who are determined to give us the best training facilities in the country.

“And I’m not saying that lightly, it really is going to be a state-of-the-art environment.”

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