The Wokingham Paper

Reading FC academy boss Ged Roddy excited by latest crop of youngsters

Tom Holmes made his senior Reading debut on Tuesday evening
Tom Holmes made his Reading debut last season

ACADEMY boss Ged Roddy believes there are numerous youngsters ready to make an impact for Reading’s first team, but he does not want to see them rushed into action.

The Royals sit 21st in the Championship table, just one point clear of rock-bottom Hull City, following Saturday’s 4-1 loss at West Brom.

Although three academy products were named on the bench at The Hawthorns, none made the starting 11 with calls from the fans intensifying to give some of the talented youngsters a chance.

But Roddy, who took over as head of the academy in February this year following the departure of Lee Herron to Arsenal, has warned that the situation must be handled carefully to avoid damaging any player’s long-term development.

Andy Rinomhota was an unused sub at The Hawthorns

“Just throwing them in is the last thing I want to see happen,” he said.

“We’ve got some outstanding talent, but you need some different people in the pathway that these players are moving through that have different skills.

“The skills of me and my team is to develop them and take them to the front door, but when they get to that front door, they’ve got to go through it and then there’s a whole process of polishing them and that’s a skill in its own right.

He added: “We’ve got a coaching team at first team level who understand development.

“The new director of football (Gianluca Nani) understands youth development, he understands the need for young players to be playing as part of a mixture of youth and experience and I think that he’s very quickly understood that the academy is big part of Reading’s culture, which is really encouraging.

“I’m relieved as well because whenever somebody comes in new, you want to make sure they buy into the philosophy of this club.”

One player attracting a lot of attention is teenage striker Danny Loader.

Scoring regularly for the Under-23s as well as at international youth level with England, Loader was an unused substitute for the Championship game against QPR earlier this month.

But Roddy acknowledges it is difficult for Clement to give the teenagers minutes in the side.

“We mustn’t put all our eggs in one basket because that’s how we’ll put too much pressure on him (Loader),” said Roddy.

“We’ve probably got four or five players that right now are certainly exciting me in the U23s.

“Over the last 10 seasons we’ve had (on average) three and a half debuts a season.

“That for me is a base. We should, as a club, be turning over three to three and a half debuts a season.

“My job is to keep pushing the boys and that’s an important part of what I do.

“It would be really easy for me to say yeah, it’s frustrating and we need more in (the first team), but we have to sit alongside the manager, the director of football and recognise that they’ve got their job to do.”

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