Reading Football Club are delighted to announce that goalkeeper Luke Southwood has completed the paperwork on a new deal that will see him remain at the club until 2023.
The 23-year-old stopper has been one of a growing number of success stories from our highly-regarded Academy and he was handed his senior debut in Royals colours in a Carabao Cup win against Colchester United at the start of this season.
Luke was subsequently selected by Veljko Paunović to twice take on Luton Town in both domestic cup competitions this season and his impressive performances and hard work on the training pitch have earned Southwood a role as a trusted deputy to Rafael, becoming a regular inclusion in the matchday squad throughout the 2020-21 campaign.
Paunović said, “Luke is a fantastic character, a very talented keeper and a patient and positive influence within our first team group who I know will always give his best in every session at Bearwood or in any game he plays. A child of this club, he fully deserves this new contract at Reading and I am sure he will grasp this opportunity to challenge for the goalkeeper shirt next season.”
Southwood, who joined the Royals’ Academy ranks as an eight-year-old, has worked his way up through the age groups as a Reading player over the course of a decade and a half.
That included featuring in an FA Youth Cup run to the quarter-finals with the Under-18s – where he kept out a Tammy Abraham penalty when we took on Chelsea at Stamford Bridge – and becoming a regular fixture in the Under-23 group whilst still a teenager.
On the international scene he won the Under-20 World Cup as a member of the England squad out in South Korea in 2017. And Luke was just 19 when he embarked on his first loan stint away from Madejski Stadium to get first-team football under his belt with Bath City – ultimately being named the Romans’ Player of the Season at the end of the 2017-18 season.
Successful loan spells with Eastleigh and Hamilton Academical followed in each of the next two seasons and, playing a key role within a tight-knit group of goalkeepers guided by Goalkeeping Coach James Bittner, Luke embedded himself within the Royals’ first team squad under Paunović from the very start of this season – progress which now sees Southwood to commit to a further two years at Madejski Stadium.
Chief Executive Dayong Pang added, “I am very pleased that Luke has signed this new deal at the club and, as one of nine Academy graduates to make their first team debut this season, he represents more proof of the success of our investment in youth and the time and effort that goes into the development of young talent at Reading Football Club.”