Josh Barrett expressed his delight at earning senior league minutes for the Royals, having come off the bench at Middlesbrough last weekend.
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The youngster, 20, made his league debut aged 17, on the final day of the 2015-16 campaign, but hadn't been able to add to his league minutes tally since.
He has since spent time continuing his development in our Under-23 side, for whom he has scored seven times this season from the flank, and away on loan - at Coventry City last season, coupled with time at Aldershot Town this term.
Under José Gomes, however, Barrett says he is flourishing and learning every day under the Reading boss.
"It was a great feeling, it's been such a long time," he said. "I've been very grateful for this manager since he's come in. I've been with him for the last three months now, just building and waiting to get that chance.
"I've been at Reading for such a long time [since the age of 8] so every time I put the shirt on, I want to do my best - especially with the first team, even more so.
"It's been tough - I've had ups and downs but it's been key for me to keep believing in my ability. I've had managers come in who maybe didn't fancy me as a player, so I've had to think of other things.
"I've had loans that maybe didn't go to the best of how I wanted them to, but I've had a fresh start since the gaffer's come in.
"He's given me the opportunity that I'm so grateful for - he's changed my life around really. I'm so grateful for him and what he's done for me, I want to pay him back with my performances."
Barrett also revealed the work he has put in behind the scenes to put himself in the best possible position to return to the first team fold.
"There were three or four weeks where I was running every day after training, the gaffer was making me run and they were tough, tough days.
"When you've got somebody who's there and waiting to give you an opportunity, you'd be stupid not to take in what he's telling you to do.
"I think I've grabbed it by the scruff of the neck, and now I've been training with the first team, the lads have all been great with me, they've accepted me back in and I'm grateful for the opportunity.
"I'm just excited for the last game, and next season as well."
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