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🗺 Our Academy Graduates who went on to represent their nations

A look at those who progressed through the club's youth set-up and into our first-team before gaining games at an international level

27 March 2021

With another international break currently upon us, we're taking a look at the products of our Academy who went on not only to be part of our first-team, but to be honoured with the chance to represent their countries.

It's a list that just keeps growing, and amongst them are many players who continue to ply their trade at the highest level. From Iceland and Ireland, to Wales, Jamaica and England, there's a whole host of national teams our players have turned out for, on some of the world's biggest stages.

Gylfi Sigurðsson


The Icelandic superstar began his career with the Royals in 2005 when he arrived in Berkshire on an Academy scholarship. Five years later, he had amassed over 50 Reading appearances and has since spent the last nine seasons as a Premier League regular for the likes of Swansea City, Tottenham Hotspur and Everton.

Now aged 31, Sigurðsson has represented his country just short of 80 times, scoring 25 goals. Gylfi needs just one more international goal to equal his nation's goalscoring record, currently held by Kolbeinn Sigþórsson and Eiður Guðjohnsen.

Hal Robson-Kanu


Now with West Bromwich Albion, Robson-Kanu has represented Wales on 45 occasions, during which he has netted five international goals. He also proved a key part of the Welsh team that reached the semi-finals of Euro 2016.

The London-born forward joined the Royals Academy in 2004 and spent 12 years with the club, winning promotion to the Premier League in 2011-12 and scoring 30 goals across 228 appearances. 

Alex McCarthy


A product of our Academy who spent the first eight years of his career at the Madejski, McCarthy was initally capped by England at U21 level while at the club, but has since gone on to recieve one senior England cap when in 2018 he came on as a substitute during a 3-0 win over the USA.

McCarthy's Royals career came to an end when he signed for Queens Park Rangers in August 2014, following 75 Reading appearances.

Shane Long


Long joined our Academy when he completed a move from Cork in June 2005, and proved a firm fan favourite during his six years in RG2. Two years into his time at the Madejski, Long earned his first Ireland call and has since represented the Irish on 85 occasions, continuing to do so 'til this day.

Our 2010-11 Player of the Season, Long scored 54 goals in seven seasons with the club.

Aaron Tshibola

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Tshibola joined the Academy aged 13, and signed his first professional deal with the club in March 2011. During his three years in the Royals' first-team fold, Aaron made a total 17 appearances for his boyhood club before departing to Aston Villa in July 2016. 

Since then, Tshibola has been capped once by the Democratic Republic of Congo, qualifying through his family. He made his international debut during a friendly against Tanzania back in March 2018.

Michael Hector


With the Royals for six years prior to sealing a deadline day switch to Chelsea in September 2015, Hector has represented Jamaica over 30 times, receiving his first Reggae Boyz call just months before his Stamford Bridge move. In the same summer, he went to the Copa América in Chile and helped Jamaica to the Gold Cup final in the USA.

Hector was an ever-present figure at the Madejski during the 2014-15 season, and finished his time with the club with 63 senior Reading appearances under his belt.

Simon Cox


Still going strong at 33 playing down under for Western Sydney Wanderers, Tilehurst-born Cox is Reading through and through. He joined the club's Academy aged nine in 1996, and remained with us until a move to Swindon Town came about in 2008.

Not only did Cox make 69 appearances across two stints with his hometown club, but he has represented Republic of Ireland on 30 occasions. Cox has netted four goals for The Boys in Green since being capped for the first time in 2011. 

Andre Burley 

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Now with our divisonal rivals Wycombe Wanderers, Burley - who was born in Slough - may only have registered three senior appearances while with the Royals, but he has now gone on to make his international debut for the St Kitts and Nevis national team.  

Burley made his maiden showing for St Kitts and Nevis this month, during a 1-0 World Cup qualifying win over Puerto Rico.

Simon Church


A now retired Welsh international with 38 senior caps, Church joined the Royals aged 14 and progressed through the Academy to make over 100 appearances for the Royals, scoring a total of 24 goals across a ten-year spell with the club. 

His third and final Wales goal came in March 2016 when he found the net against Northern Ireland, and he was part of the Welsh squad which turned heads at Euro 2016. 

Axel Andresson


Following in the footsteps of former club man Gylfi Sigurðsson, Andresson progressed through our Academy before making his professional Reading debut in a League Cup tie against Gillingham back in August 2017. 

During his four years with us, he represented Iceland at every age group, and has since made his senior international debut for Strákarnir okkar when he was introduced from the bench during a friendly with Sweden in January 2019. He is the older brother of young Royals goalkeeper, Jökull.

Andrija Novakovich


Wisconsin raised former Royal Novakovich has donned the stars and stripes of the US on three occasions, since gaining his first cap against Paraguay in March 2018.

He may have only managed three appearances in a Reading shirt during his five years with the club, but he's now demonstrating an eye for goal in Italy's Serie B with Frosinone.

Alex Pearce


Pearce, who is currently with Millwall, initially represented Scotland at youth level - but has since opted to represent the Republic of Ireland and gained his first Irish cap while with the Royals.

The Oxfordshire-born centre-back became part of our Academy in 2001 and spent the next 14 years at the Madejski. He made 240 Reading appearances and was our 2011-12 Player of the Season. He currently has seven international displays to his name.

Tariqe Fosu


His time with us may only have yielded a single senior appearance, but Fosu spent the first 13 years of his career with the Royals, before completing a move to Charlton Athletic where his performances for the Addicks have seen him back to the Championship with Brentford.

The Ghanian, who was part of our Academy's U21 Premier League Cup winning team in 2013-14, earnt his first Black Stars call in 2020, and has already clocked up four appearances and a maiden goal for his country. 

Jake Taylor


Taylor may have only been capped once by Wales at a senior level, but he acheieved this, and caps at every age group during his 17 years with the Royals, having joined the club's Academy in 1999.

Since departing the Madejski in 2016, Taylor has established himself as a firm favourite at former loan club Exeter City, and has now racked up over 200 appearances for the Grecians - many of which with the captain's armband. 

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