The Welsh capital is the obvious place to start- as Reading's affinity with producing home-grown talent has once again proved a vital resource for Chris Coleman's side, who took four valuable points from two home games. Friday's 0-0 draw with Bosnia featured right-back Chris Gunter for the full 90 minutes, with academy graduate Hal Robson-Kanu replacing ex-Royal academy graduate Simon Church after the hour.
HRK did enough to earn a starting berth in the Cyprus game on Monday night, with the striker netting the 2nd goal with a composed finish when Gareth Bale cleverly played him into a one-on-one. See the goal here, where you will see, he almost grabbed the first as David Cotterill's cross evaded everyone to open the scoring. Gunter also played the full match, as 25-year-old Robson-Kanu was subbed off for none other than academy graduate Jake Taylor. A great season so far for Taylor, capped off with his first international cap as Wales top Group B.
Also topping their group, we have Northern Ireland, and summer signing Oliver Norwood. The central midfielder got an assist for Jamie Ward's opener, I would recommend MSN for the highlights, as his out-swinging corner eventually met Ward. A brilliant 2-0 win for Michael O'Neill's side was preceeded by a 2-0 win over the Faroe Islands- Norwood whipping in the corner that Gareth McAuley headed in, via familiar name Chris Baird, and hitting the bar. Highlights here.
Academy graduate Alex Pearce didn't get off the bench for the Republic of Ireland, as the Boys in Green earned a solid 7-0 win over Gibraltar, and stunned Germany to seal an impressive 1-1 draw against the World Champions- which you can see here. The Republic travel to Scotland next month in what is fast becoming the Group D of Death. Poland and ROI are top on 7 points, before Scotland and Germany on 4, after three games played.
Adam Federici travelled to Arabia with the Aussies, involved in a 1-0 defeat to Qatar. Feds got the 2nd-half in goal, conceding to Khalfan Ibrahim to round off a difficult period for The Soceroos, who drew 0-0 to UAE earlier in the week. Good quality highlights of the goal are few and far between, so I'll recommend this one based on the lively Qatari commentator.
Hope Akpan's debut for the Super Eagles of Nigeria was delayed after being left out of the shock 1-0 defeat in Sudan on Saturday, putting them bottom of African Cup of Nations Qualifying Group A. Desperate for a win in Wednesday's home game against Sudan, the African Nations holders obviously learnt their lesson, starting Hope in central midfield alongside experienced head John Obi Mikel, winning the game 3-1.
Sone Aluko, Hope Akpan and Raheem Lawal showed class.— Colin Udoh (@ColinUdoh) October 15, 2014
Shane Griffin, Sean Long, and Pierce Sweeney started Republic of Ireland's 4-1 friendly defeat to Norway in Drammen.
Academy midfielder Sami Fridjonsson captained Iceland U19s to a 3-0 defeat to Estonia, getting sent off late on for two yellow cards. However, he did score in a 7-3 defeat to Turkey, and played in a 4-1 defeat to Croatia. Sindri Scheving, another Icelandic Reading academy player, played at right-back throughout those games. They finished bottom of their UEFA U19 Championship Qualifiying group.
Rob Dickie, academy star who actually plays for England *insert Happy Greg Dyke comment here*, had an Under-19s debut to remember, coming on at half-time to help secure an 8-0 win over Luxembourg. England U19 topped their group with a 4-2 win over Belgium, with Dickie an unused sub.
Harry Cardwell, Scottish striker, featured in a 2-2 draw with Finland at U19 level. He also started draws with Lithuania (0-0) and Norway (1-1) as Ricky Sbragia's side finished third in Group 13.
Finally, Zak Jules and Jake Sheppard are in the Scottish U18 side to face Czech Republic on October 21st & 23rd.