A prolific goalscorer for our Under-23s, Danny Loader now has his maiden first-team goal too. And what a way to score it – rolling past a two-time Premier League winner and lashing an unstoppable shot into the top corner against Middlesbrough on Saturday.
“It’s a really good feeling,” said the 18-year-old. “It’s been quite a long time coming, but I’ve been working hard and working at it. And it paid off today.
“When the ball was thrown to me and I turned past John Obi Mikel, there was only one thing on my mind – whip it in that corner! Thankfully it went in.
“It’s quite a relief really as it has been a long time coming. I kept on scoring with the Under-23s, and I was wondering when it would come with the first team.
“The manager has encouraged me to shoot more. I’ve been playing in a deeper position, which I have liked – I’ve got on the ball more, and I’ve been encouraged to have a go more often from distance.”
On the day, Danny’s goal was overturned by a Lewis Wing strike and Britt Assombalonga’s spot-kick – Reading were defeated at the Riverside.
But results elsewhere meant that the Royals had their status as a Championship side confirmed with a game to spare.
“There were some mixed emotions, but in the end there was relief – as everyone was saying, we have worked hard for this,” he reflected. “Three months ago, it wasn’t looking too good for us. So everyone is happy.
“It was nice to see all the fans at the end of the game, and to give them something back for their support throughout the season.
“I’ve learned a lot technically about my game this season – adapting myself to first-team football. Physically, I have come on quite a bit. And I’ll continue to get used to senior football.
“I want to get into the best shape possible over summer, to come back ready and be firing at the start of next season. I want to come back more prepared than anyone else.”
Back at Madejski Stadium for the season finale next time out - we face Birmingham next Sunday. Click the banner below for ticket information.