Today marks the start of the EFL's Youth Development Week, so we are taking the opportunity to celebrate the successes of our Academy by taking a look at the numbers behind the progress of our Academy graduates during the 2020-21 season.
16 - Academy graduates played for our first team
In what was a particularly demanding campaign, youth products of our prized Academy were given plenty of opportunities to step into Veljko Paunovic's first team fold, whether that be contributing with regular appearances on the pitch, or getting a feel for the future by taking their place in the 20-man matchday squad.
A total of 16 Academy graduates took to the field for the Royals in all competitions this season with Luke Southwood, Tom McIntyre, Tom Holmes, Ethan Bristow, Jeriel Dorsett, Omar Richards, Tennai Watson, Nelson Abbey, Olly Pendlebury, Lynford Sackey, Dejan Tetek, Andy Rinomhota, Michael Olise, Conor Lawless, Mamadi Camara and Nahum Melvin-Lambert all pulling on the blue and white hoops at least once during 2020-21.
Most notably, midfield man Olise made 44 Championship appearances, followed closely by Rinomhota (42), Richards (41), Holmes (39) and McIntyre (26) - all homegrown talents who had a significant input on our season.
16,222 - first team minutes played by Academy graduates
Over 270 hours of football was played by graduates of our Academy during 2020-21, with 16,222 minutes of our campaign spent with players from our Academy on the pitch.
Andy Rinomhota played the most minutes of any of our 16-strong cohort with 3,642 minutes of time on the turf, with now-Bayern Munich full-back Richards (3,317) and EFL Young Player of the Season Olise (3,263) coming in second and third respectively.
10 - Goals scored in the first team by Academy graduates
Our tally of goals scored by Academy graduates reached double figures on the final day of the season, as Michael Olise netted his seventh strike of the campaign. The 19-year-old London-born attacker was joined by Tom McIntyre (2) and Andy Rinomhota (1) in being one of three graduates to find the back of the net for the Royals this term.
Graduates of our Academy played a direct hand in helping us to wins over AFC Bournemouth, Luton Town, Barnsley, Derby County, Sheffield Wednesday, Blackburn Rovers and Queens Park Rangers during the past year.
9 - Academy graduates handed first team debuts
Seven of our 16 Academy players from this season had made their first team bows in previous seasons, but for nine of them, this year saw them make their professional debuts for the club.
For Luke Southwood, Ethan Bristow and Nahum Melvin-Lambert that special moment came during our 3-1 Carabao Cup victory over Colchester United the opening day, while for Dejan Tetek, Nelson Abbey and Lynford Sackey their day to remember came in the second round of the competition at home to Luton Town.
For the final trio of Olly Pendlebury, Mamadi Camara and Conor Lawless it came again against the Hatters, but this time at Kenilworth Road, where all three made their debuts in the Third Round of the FA Cup - in turn adding their names to our ever-growing Academy Honours board, which can be seen outside the main reception at Madejski Stadium.
19 - Assists made by Academy graduates in the first team
Not only were our Academy graduates scoring goals, but they were setting them up for others too. An impressive 19 of our 62 goals during the 2020-21 season were assisted by players who came through the ranks with the Royals.
Olise contributed to 12 of those, with Rinomhota (3), Holmes (2) and McIntyre (2) also pitching in to add to their teammates' respective goal tallies.