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🗨️ "He gives you pace, he gives you power. I think our fans will really buy into him"

Assessment of Laurent after he turned out in the blue and white hoops for the first time...

24 August 2020

Our first glimpse of the Royals came at Madejski Stadium on Saturday and there were some positive signs as new signing Josh Laurent caught the eye, along witha  number of young Academy products hoping to make the grade.

"It was nice to see Josh Laurent come into it on Saturday - he'll be an important player for this club," Mark Bowen said after the friendly win over the Gills.

"He gives you pace, he gives you power. I think our fans will really buy into him, because he's a good, honest player.

"He's a coach's dream, he comes in and works hard, has a smile on his face every day and does what you ask him to do.

"He can play anywhere across the midfield, can play defensive midfield, attacking midfield, wide areas - for us he'll be a really important member of our team.

"But he'll need competition. We have to have a leaner squad, but we have to have competitiveness in the squad too."

No fewer than eight Academy products played a part in the 2-1 win at the weekend, so they could well be a source of competition.

"My message to the young guys is 'if they're good enough, they'll play'. You can't afford to carry anybody in this league.

"I spoke to Tom McIntyre and I told him I don't want anyone to be calling him 'young Tom McIntyre' this season.

"He's got to stick his chest out and think of himself as a senior member of the team. He's got to get in there and stay in there, not just be happy playing two or three games and playing well. Can he bang out 40 odd games this season - he's certainly good enough to do it.

"I'm putting that little bit of pressure on some of them to grasp their opportunity, training with the first team. And the best ones will thrive on that pressure."

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