Tuesday’s game against Leeds marked over half-a-century of graduates to have played first team football for the Royals.
Ryan East became number 50 after being named in the starting eleven that evening, having signed a new deal with the club just a few hours before kick-off, seeing him in a blue and white shirt until 2021.
Speaking on his new contract, East said: “I’m delighted to have signed until 2021. I’ve been looking to get it sorted for a while now, so It’s good to finally sign and crack on.
“I’ve been here for nearly eight years now, so I’ve grown up through the Academy and making my step forward is what I want to do here, so I’m delighted.”
Since our Academy was founded in 1999, a plethora of young talent has come through to represent the first team and have successful playing careers, and East hopes that this achievement can continue with the next crop of budding graduates like himself.
“It’s a credit to the Academy, it’s a milestone for them, for the club in itself, and hopefully there’s more to come,” he continued. “It’s not just me, it’s the young lads coming through, there’s some good players, so hopefully they can come on too.
“I saw Tom McIntyre and Gabe Osho do it this season, which is great. Andy Rinomhota has really worked through the season, and Andy lives with me and my family so I’ve seen him come through properly, and seen it all the way through, so hopefully I can do the same.”
The midfielder’s new deal runs through until 2021, and speaking ahead of his debut against Leeds on Tuesday night, East hopes that with the help of manager Jose Gomes, he can push forwards and become an increasing part of first team in the near future.
“I’m not here just to play one game, hopefully I can cement a place in the squad.
“It’s been a joy to work with José since he’s come in. I’ve been in with the first team more regularly since he’s come in, and hopefully I can show the fans what I can do.”