João Manuel Neves Virgínia
Date of birth
Born in Faro, Virgínia came through Benfica’s Academy ranks before leaving Lisbon for Arsenal in 2015.
The 6’3” stopper began to impress in the Gunners’ youth ranks, making 22 appearances at Under-18 and then Under-23 level in 2017-18.
João signed for Everton in August 2018 and last season became a double winner as part of the Toffees’ successful U23s side - winning the league and the cup in his debut campaign on Merseyside.
Virgínia recorded nine clean sheets in 12 PL2 matches for David Unsworth’s young side and was also unbeaten between the posts during Everton’s Premier League Cup semi-final and final victories over Swansea City and Newcastle United.
On the international scene, Virgínia has represented Portugal at every level from Under-16 to Under-21, forming part of the Portuguese squad who competed in the Rio Olympics in 2016 before starring in a triumphant Under-19 European Championships, beating Italy in the Final in Finland in July 2018.
He wore the gloves in all three of Portugal’s group games in the summer’s Under-20s 2019 World Cup in Poland - playing the full ninety minutes against South Africa, South Korea and Argentina.
Virgínia now plays his football in a Reading shirt after signing on a season-long loan deal from Everton. The talented Portuguese stopper got straight to work with his first team colleagues during our pre-season training camp in Spain, preparing to make his bow on the opening day against Sheffield Wednesday.