Just prior to the arrival of manager José Gomes, Academy defensive duo Tom McIntyre and Gabriel Osho earned first team debuts; no.48 and no.49 to come through the ranks to feature for our senior side. On Tuesday night, our Portuguese boss handed his first two Academy debuts out to take the total beyond 50.
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Gomes has already relied on Osho, Omar Richards, Andy Rinomhota, Liam Kelly and Danny Loader during his two-and-a-half month tenure in the Madejski Stadium hotseat and he added Ryan East and Michael Olise to that list, again demonstrating the trust he has in our Academy talent.
"If we need players to play in certain positions, and if we have talented players who can help us, we must use them," he said after the game.
"It doesn’t matter about their age. What matters is their quality and their capacity, and they have it.
"They are not completely ready – we cannot say that they are the finished article. They have been working very well with us and they need to keep working more.
"The team needs them and they played well against Leeds United - they showed that they have the quality to be here.
"East started the game and Michael came off the bench to do some good things. We didn't see any fear from them, playing at this level. So it's a positive thing for this club.
"I think this is the way. We must use the players who have quality, who are working with us daily on the training pitch. They showed us they can be options in the future. So we must give them the chance. They are part of the club family.
"It was a very important step for them and for the way that we have been working in our club. If these players deserve to play, we must use them. This is the future of Reading."