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The Scout Report: Reading FC

Following successive defeats at the hands of Huddersfield Town and Fulham, Newcastle United aim to get their first three points on the board with the midweek visit of Jaap Stam’s Reading side.
Reading – A Factfile

Founded: 1871 (145 years ago)
Nickname: The Royals
Stadium: Madejski Stadium – 24,161 capacity
Manager: Jaap Stam
2015-16: Championship, 17th
Major Honours: None
2016-17 Scout Report

Notable Signings
– Joey van den Berg – CM – Signed on a free transfer from Dutch side SC Heerenveen, van den Berg is a well-travelled defensive midfielder not known for his goalscoring ability, however he is said to be a player that new boss Jaap Stam admires greatly, having watched him during his time in the Netherlands.

– Roy Beerens – RW – Yet another new face at the Madejski this season is that of another Dutchman. Beerens signed on a three-year deal from German club Hertha BSC after failing to challenge for a regular starting berth in the Bundesliga side’s starting XI. Beerens is known for his pace and counter-attacking ability.

Notable Departures

– Hal Robson-Kanu – ST – Arguably the most sought after free agent of the summer was Robson-Kanu following his scintillating display for Wales at Euro 2016. Having racked up almost 200 league appearances for the Royals, the Welshman’s experience and familiarity of the club will be a big miss in the dressing room as new, young players blend into the first team fold, but also on the pitch.

– Oliver Norwood – CM – Departing the Madejski Stadium after two seasons to join promotion-pushing Brighton was a disappointment to many Reading fans. The 29-cap Northern Irishman is an astute distributor of the ball and isn’t afraid to strike from distance, and at 25 years old, the club will miss out on the playmaker’s best years as he enters his prime.

– Aaron Tshibola – CM – One of Reading’s brightest academy prospects was poached this summer by 2nd tier novices Aston Villa for an undisclosed fee. Having made 16 first team appearances last campaign, Tshibola was really staking a claim to becoming one of Reading’s key players in the upcoming 2016-17 season. His departure leaves Stam’s Reading rather short of defensive midfield options that have vital Championship experience.


Key Players

John Swift – CM – One player new to the club but not new to the Championship is John Swift. The former Chelsea youth team player spent seven years learning his footballing trade under some of the world’s best youth coaches before joining Reading on a free transfer in the summer. Described as having a remarkable engine and the type of player to chip in with vital goals from midfield, Swift could prove to be a real asset this season after earning his Championship colours on loan at Brentford during 2015-16, where he excelled in netting seven times.

– Chris Gunter – RB – A member of Wales’ notorious run to the European Championship’s Semi-Final, Gunter is an experienced full-back with 169 Reading appearances under his belt. Not only that, Gunter is one of Wales’ most capped current players with 73 international outings to his name and at only 27 years old, it shows he has been playing at a consistently high level from an early age. The Welshman has already played over 150 matches for two clubs in his career and his longevity is a testament to the high standards he keeps up to.

– Yann Kermorgant – ST – At 34 years old, Kermorgant may no longer be very athletic but his hunger for scoring goals is yet to cease. Pivotal in Bournemouth’s 2014-15 promotion campaign, the Frenchman is no stranger to the Championship having scored goals for Bournemouth, Charlton, Leicester and Reading at this level. It is fair to say that Kermorgant is a determined individual and despite some trying circumstances in his career he has always returned a respectable goals tally. Much more of a poacher these days, Reading’s number 18 still has a keen eye for goal, and limiting his opportunities will be key.
2016-17 Results (to date)
Reading 1-0 Preston North End – 6/8/16 – EFL Championship Gameweek 1
Reading 2-0 Plymouth Argyle – 8/8/16 – EFL Cup Round 1
Wolves 2-0 Reading – 13/8/16 – EFL Championship Gameweek 2
Top Scorer (all competitions) – Three Players (Swift, van den Berg, Beerens) – (1)

Manager – Jaap Stam

English football fans will be no stranger to the steely Dutchman, with Stam playing a key part in Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United side of the late 1990s which notoriously won the revered Treble in 1999. At the heart of defence throughout his career, Stam is a keen disciplinarian and will have his sides well drilled.

The former Ajax assistant manager has drawn on his experience in The Netherlands to recruit a number of players so far this term and with his young squad he will hope to nurture and develop them into a well-oiled, efficient machine capable of grinding out results. His experience and international pedigree will be vital to the development of Reading’s young team but also to the club as a whole if all goes to plan.

Stam will be hoping to continue the success he enjoyed during his playing career which included Dutch and English league titles as well as a whole host of domestic cup and European trophies. Stam also made appearances at four major tournaments and in two Champions League Finals. His influence cannot be understated as his presence will demand respect from every single one of his players, however it is possible that team selection will be varied a fair amount as the Dutchman works out who features in his strongest starting XI.

Did You Know? 

– Between the six first team strikers to have made a senior appearance for Reading, theircombined record stands at just 49 appearances, and seven goals scored in total.

– Striker Yann Kermorgant’s professional career only began as a 21-year old in the lower leagues of French amateur football as his development was halted after being diagnosed with leukemia as a teenager.
About Harry Savill (Editor) (418 Articles)
I am the Editor of 'The Spectator's View'. I set up the website so that I could combine my two passions: Newcastle United and writing, and I hope for it to be a platform where fans can express their views on the club. History Graduate from Durham University. Junior Account Executive at M&C Saatchi.

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