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Alex Pearce

Born: 9 November 1988 
Nationality: Ireland 
Position: Centre-back 
Royals first-team debut: Reading 3-2 Burnley – 09/01/07 
Appearances: 228(+12) 
Goals: 15 

Pearce’s story:
Alex was first spotted by the Academy scouts while playing for his hometown club Oxford at the age of 12. He worked his way through the ranks to earn his first professional deal with the club late on in 2006. 

The strong, brave defender made his Royals debut in an FA Cup win over Burnley in January 2007. Having been thrown straight in the deep end he was tasked with marking the man mountain Adi Akinbiyi – and an impressive performance that afternoon from the Irishman earned the Royals a spot in the next round. 

Loan spells with Northampton, Bournemouth, Norwich and Southampton followed, the Academy graduate scoring his first professional goal whilst at Sixfields against Scunthorpe. 

During the 2009/10 season, Pearce played 26 games and was handed the captain’s armband by Brenden Rodgers in place of injury absentee Ivar Ingimarsson. From here Pearce Never Looked back. 

Stepping on from the Brendan Rodgers era, Pearce has gained leaps and bounds, with his crowning glory coming under Brian McDermott in the 2011/12 season. 

His partnership with Kaspars Gorkss led to promotion back to the Promised Land, starting 47 games and keeping 17 clean-sheets along the way, as well as notching five goals from centre-back. 

Solid performances whilst in the top flight rumoured some interest from the red half of Merseyside, although no official bid was made, Pearce returned to the Championship alongside his Royals teammates. 

Beyond the Hoops:

Having notched up 205(+7) league appearances in a Reading shirt, the Irish international made the move to Derby County in the summer of 2015, signing a three-year contract with the Rams on expiry of his Madejski stadium contract. 

In the January transfer window he signed a loan deal with Bristol City, keeping him a Robin until the end of the 2015/16 season, but he returned to the iPro Stadium to make 47 appearances for the Rams the following season.