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Novakovich | "A lot has changed, but it's positive"

Striker reflects on two years away and aims to work hard in Spain

10 July 2019

Andrija Novakovich said he will be working hard throughout pre-season with the Royals, after spending the last two years away from the club.

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The striker, 22, has been honing his skills in the Netherlands over the past two seasons, first with SC Telstar in the Dutch second tier, before stepping up to the Eredivisie with Fortuna Sittard last term.

He contributed in front of goal in both campaigns, and has since earned his first senior caps for the US Men's National Team in his time away from the club.

He's back in Reading colours for pre-season, though, and he reflected on his call-ups to his national side, saying: "That was a proud moment in my career. I got my first call-up when I was at Telstar, I was scoring a lot of goals out there and that's when I got my first call-up.

"I played a few times, got a few caps and it was a good experience. I now want to work hard, work on myself, get fit, get ready for the new season and see what happens.

"A lot has changed since I was last here but it seems positive, it seems like a good change and the guys are great.

"We're just getting our head down, working hard and trying to get the most out of pre-season, to be ready for the start of the new year."

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In a travelling squad awash with Academy products, Novakovich has travelled with plenty of familiar faces to the squad's training camp in Spain - several of whom making their senior debuts while he was away from the club.

"We all know each other - we all get along," he smiled. "Nobody's hard to get along with or anything, there's good camaraderie so it's a good feeling.

"I was following them out there of course, it's always good seeing your mates when they get a chance for themselves.

"Obviously, Andy [Rinomhota] had a big year last year, some of the other lads made their debuts too - so it's been interesting for them, it's been exciting."

The task at hand for Novakovich and the squad is to gain plenty of match fitness while in Spain, and their first of six friendlies will take place on Wednesday night - against Gibraltar United FC, with Novakovich ready for the challenge.

"It's about getting more minutes, getting some conditioning, working hard and getting ready for the new season.

"They've got us working hard, so that's all we can do. It's good to look forward to these games, because it gives you a chance to show yourself and get minutes, starting to get that fitness ready."


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