It’s been another standout season for the Royals’ Academy in 2018-19, from a trio of semi-finals for our U23s, to several young talents adding to the number of graduates who have made their senior debut.
Sometimes, over the course of a season and with a multitude of matches in different age groups and competitions, it can be hard to keep track with all the goings on within our Category One Academy.
To give a helping hand, below we put into numbers the different milestones our Academy has achieved in the past season…
96 | Number of senior appearances made by Academy players
With our Category One Academy at the heart of our youth development, the number of senior appearances made by Academy players has gone up by 20 compared with last season.
76 was the number in 2017-18, but by the end of 2018-19, our young talents had stepped out for the senior team on 96 occasions.
Player of the Season Andy Rinomhota lead the way with 28 appearances across league and cup, followed closely by Danny Loader and Liam Kelly with 22 each.
6,220 | Minutes played by our Academy graduates
Game time builds experience, and over the duration of the season our Academy graduates played a grand total of 6, 220 minutes of football for the senior team.
From 180 minutes on the opening day against Derby, to 360 minutes at Old Trafford and another 341 on the final day against Birmingham, it’s clear the impact that they have made on the season.
52 | Total number of Academy players to have made their senior debut
Buoyed by the success of our Academy since it was founded in 1999, graduates 50 and 51 were marked when Ryan East and Michael Olise both played against Leeds in March.
With Teddy Howe’s introduction from the substitutes bench against Birmingham on the final day, the total number of Academy graduates to make their senior bow reached 52.
17 years, 90 days | Youngest player in the Championship to play more than once
This was the age of Michael Olise on his first team debut against Leeds. He was the youngest player to play more than once in the Championship this season.
Four appearances under his belt for the senior team, he was also the only player to play for all of our U18s, U23s and first team this season, earning himself the Scholar of the Year award in the process.
10 | Number of Academy graduates who played minutes this season
Liam Kelly, Omar Richards, Ryan East, Gabriel Osho, Tom McIntyre, Teddy Howe, Michael Olise, Josh Barrett, Danny Loader and Andy Rinomhota – these 10 Academy graduates all played minutes in the first team this season.
Of those youngsters to have made appearances, East, Osho, McIntyre, Olise and Howe all made their senior debuts in the process.
3 | Competitions in which our U23s progressed to semi-finals or further
Another gripping season for our U23s saw them involved in three semi-finals as they chased Premier League 2, Berks & Bucks Senior Cup and Premier League International Cup glory.
European elites Bayern Munich were semi-final opponents in the PL International Cup in April, before Newcastle visited Madejski Stadium in the PL 2 Division 2 Play-off semi-final in May.
Scott Marshall’s men also faced Slough Town at Larges Lane in the Berk & Bucks Senior Cup Final to complete an impressive trio of games for the U23s.
In our younger age groups, three is also the number in which our Youth Development Phase age groups (U13/U14/U15) progressed into Quarter-Finals or further in their respective national cup competitions.
19.4 | Average age of U23 lineup against Bayern
It was a youthful Under-23 side that went toe-to-toe with Bayern Munich II at Madejski Stadium back in April, fielding a far younger side than their German counterparts.
And despite the Royals being the better team for the majority of proceedings in RG2, Bayern's experience told with the European giants running out 3-1 winners.
While Reading's average age was below 20, Bayern fielded just one player under the age of 20 - with their captain, Nico Feldhahn, leading the side out at 32 years of age.
5,201 | FA Cup minutes for Academy products
This season's FA Cup saw 31 current and former Royals Academy players participate in the country's most famous competition, across 67 ties spanning different rounds and different levels of opposition.
It shows a remarkable level of representation from Reading's youth ranks, showing the pathway to becoming a professional footballer at our club or eventually elsewhere.