June 23, 2011
As we head toward the pre-season preparations for the 2011/12 season Reading have a goalkeeping conundrum the likes of which is not seen too often at any club.
With Adam Federici, Alex McCarthy and Mikkel Andersen all keen to secure the number one spot at the Madejski Stadium some tough decisions lie ahead for Brian McDermott.
Below we'll take a quick look a how the situation might play out.
There is little doubt that Australian international Federici, the most senior of the trio at 26-years-old, is the first choice. He wears the number one jersey at the club and has been the goalkeeper predominantly used during McDermott's spell in charge.
Given that he quietly bided his time and loyally served his apprenticeship under Marcus Hahnemann, mainly being used for cup games when Steve Coppell would make changes, many would argue that Federici has every right to feel secure between the sticks and he has done little if anything to challenge that theory.
But where does that leave the combined talents of Alex McCarthy and Mikkel Andersen. Both are keen on first-team football and deservedly so, as ambitious young professionals they realise that even in the extended career of a goalkeeper there is little time to waste if you want to make it to the very top.
As such McCarthy has been quick to make his intentions clear about the challenge he sees ahead of him after returning from the Under-21 European Championship in Denmark telling the Reading Evening Post that if he is not playing for Reading next season he wants to go out on loan and remain in the Championship.
Given his ability and attributes there will be no shortage of takers. Following a spell in the first-team last term which saw the side lose two games in 13, including an unprecedented eight league wins in a row there is no doubt the 21-year-old from Guildford has shown he is capable of handling the pressure at a young age.
Similarly Danish Under-21 Andersen's agent has been publicly quoted as saying the 6ft5 22-year-old's career would benefit from leaving Reading. He appears to be third in McDermott's pecking order, through no particular fault of his own, with little chance of playing time at the club.
Andersen has proved in his time on loan at Bristol Rovers that he is able to play first-team football, finishing as the Pirates Young Player of the Year and came third in the Player of the Year poll. Not bad for an inexperienced fledgling. Although it would be a shame to see such a talented home-grown youngster leave the club he may be the one that has to give way. This is based on the fact that he has figured so little in McDermott's first-team plans to date but things can change quickly, especially if McCarthy were to go on loan and Federici were to be injured.
Whatever way you look at it the club has a goalkeeping dilemma on their hands. Thankfully, it is the good kind!