Reading Football Club are pleased to announce the signing of 19-year-old goalkeeper João Virgínia on a season-long loan from Everton.
The talented Portuguese stopper flew out to Malaga this afternoon to link up with his first team colleagues and join our pre-season training camp in Spain to prepare to challenge for the goalkeeper gloves at the Madejski in 2019-20.
Manager José Gomes said, “João is a gifted young goalkeeper who grew up learning his trade at one of the greatest clubs in Portugal and has since impressed in English football as part of Arsenal and Everton’s Under-23s. I am delighted that he will now get an opportunity to fight for first team football as a Royal.”
Born in Faro, Virgínia came through Benfica’s Academy ranks before leaving Lisbon for Arsenal in 2015.
The 6’3” stopper began to impress in the Gunners’ youth ranks, making 22 appearances at Under-18 and then Under-23 level in 2017-18.
João signed for Everton in August 2018 and last season became a double winner as part of the Toffees’ successful Under-23s side - winning the league and the cup in his debut campaign on Merseyside.
Virgínia recorded nine clean sheets in 12 PL2 matches for David Unsworth’s young side and was also unbeaten between the posts during Everton’s Premier League Cup semi-final and final victories over Swansea City and Newcastle United.
On the international scene, Virgínia has represented Portugal at every level from Under-16 to Under-21, forming part of the Portuguese squad who competed in the Rio Olympics in 2016 before starring in a triumphant Under-19 European Championships, beating Italy in the Final in Finland last July.
He most recently wore the gloves in all three of Portugal’s group games in this summer’s Under-20s World Cup in Poland - playing the full ninety minutes against South Africa, South Korea and Argentina.
Chief Executive Nigel Howe added, “I would like to welcome João Virgínia to Reading Football Club and look forward to seeing him take the next step in his career as a Royal.”