At the start of the summer with Reading’s Financial Fair Play issues, supporters thought that the younger players would be forced to step up to the plate this season as several senior professionals left the Berkshire club.
Despite this, 10 players arrived at the Madejski Stadium in the transfer window which has limited the number of minutes that some of the younger squad members have played so far this season.
Here’s a look at five players who could still make an impact in the first team squad this season.
Osho made his senior debut against Middlesbrough in December last year, after Tom McIntyre suffered a head injury in the previous game at Rotherham. He’s had the experience of being captain of the U23 side and may get another chance to impress in the first team squad again this season if Jose Gomes continues to play three central defenders at the back.
At fifth in the pecking order behind Moore, Miazga, Morrison and McIntyre, it would have been a lot harder for the 21-year-old to break into the matchday squad if we only play two central defenders.
Miazga’s injury from the weekend may only be minor. However, a couple of injuries in that position could allow Osho to break his way in to the senior squad once again. He has the ability to do it, will he grab the opportunity with both hands if it comes his way?
The young full back seems to have overtaken Tennai Howe as second choice right back behind Andy Yiadom. At 20 years of age, Howe hasn’t had any spells out on loan and has been involved with the senior squad instead. The jump from the U23s to playing senior football hasn’t fazed Howe and playing a five at the back could help the young player settle in to the starting eleven if Andy Yiadom picks up an injury.
His crossing ability caught the eye of many of the Royals’ supporters on the final day of last season against Birmingham when he made his debut near the end of that game. Yiadom’s participation in the African Cup of Nations during pre-season allowed Howe to stake his claim for a role in the first team squad.
The young midfielder scored twice against Plymouth Argyle in the second round of the Carabao Cup, with his second being one of the goals of the tournament so far. This could be the make or break year for the Irishman, who fell out of favour under Jaap Stam and Paul Clement. Loan spells at Coventry City and Aldershot Town last season made it look unlikely that he would play for the first team again.
However, his good performance in the last fixture of the 2018/19 campaign at home to Birmingham City proved to be a turning point for Barrett. Under Jose Gomes, he was another player who was given a full pre-season to show what he’s worth. One of the highlights of pre-season was his wonderful strike against Chelsea.
The 17-year-old has been very impressive during his time with the first team so far. His performances in the second half of last season were promising. During pre-season, his performances were out of this world.
The Frenchman was playing with the confidence of an experienced professional and was always key in bringing the ball forward. In an advanced midfield position, Olise could fulfil his potential in the Championship.
If Reading finalised Danny Loader’s move away from the Madejski Stadium in the summer, he would be a Wolverhampton Wanderers player right now. However, the Royals pulled the plug on the deal at the last minute on transfer deadline day. The 19-year-old has the potential to go on and compete in some of the most prestigious leagues in Europe.
Reading have opted to play two up front recently, which could help Loader’s case in terms of getting the first team football he needs. Could Gomes persuade the 19-year-old to sign a new contract if he offers Loader more playing time this season?
The clock is ticking for the Royals, with Loader’s contract expiring next summer. To lose a promising young player like Loader for a nominal fee would be devastating for Reading, it’s time to make use of Loader’s potential whilst we still can.