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The Tilehurst End Crystal Ball 2015 - Part 1

Reading's latest crop of Academy youngsters has been hailed as possibly the best yet but who will be the next Gylfi Sigurdsson and who might end up in Peter Castle territory?

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Let's face it, we all love it when a supposedly knowledgable pundit is proved horrendously wrong. Just look at this from The Daily Mail back in 2007....

Things didn't quite work out for James Henry did they?

Likewise we as fans are just as guilty of over-hyping a prospect. How many thought Peter Castle would make it, Jack Mills maybe or even Scott Golbourne. Some just disappear, others may resurface elsewhere while a rare few turn into a Gylfi Sigurdsson or Shane Long.

We're never one to shy away from a challenge here on The Tilehurst End and so a handful of our editorial team have taken a light hearted guess as to where some of today's brightest prospects will be in five years time. So feel free to link back to this in 2020 and have a good old laugh at us. Today we'll look at the back five of the future!

Goalkeeper: Stuart Moore (20)

Marc Mayo (MM): I reckon he's set for the bench next year, which will be a great experience and his work on the training ground will be sink or swim. He could be the next Adam Federici or the next Jamie Young... I'm going to suggest the former. After all, he was good at Basingstoke!

Prediction: Championship.

Royal Hoops (RH): I can't say I've ever seen him play, to be honest, but judging by previous goalkeepers coming out of the academy I'd say he's got a half-decent career on him.

Prediction: League One (Loan)

Wimb (W): Being a regular goalkeeper at any level takes a lot of mental strength and it says a lot about Moore's character that he was a regular at promotion chasing Basingstoke last season. It's also encouraging that he was retained while others such as Scotland u21 keeper Jon Henley were released. At 20 he's got years ahead of him and fingers crossed he can make the step up to league football next season. His brother has carved out a solid career and I see the same for Moore, albeit perhaps not at the levels of an Alex McCarthy.

Prediction: Championship


Defender: Jordan Obita (21)

WilliamOwain (WO): Obita looks like he's going to be a Chris Gunter to me. Highly rated as a youngster but as his career progresses it becomes clear that he simply reached his peak earlier than his peers. That shouldn't be considered a criticism or a failure. Any chance of playing in the Premier League is likely to depend on him being part of a promotion winning team rather than Premier League interest.

Prediction: Lower Premier League/Higher Championship

RH: Player of the Season in his first season and fairly average his second, it's hard to judge Obita. However, with Steve Clarke as a mentor and left back now his confirmed starting position, I think Obita can go on to be a decent player—providing his end product improves.

Prediction: Lower Premier League.

MM: Most likely to reach the Premier League with Reading or be sold to a club more likely to get there, but won't be sold to a PL club. Will get the chance one day, mind, to prove himself at the top level but it will be as a left back.

Prediction: Premier League


Defender: Jake Cooper (20)

W: A man mountain of a centre back, Cooper could likely to carve out a career in the professional ranks due to his size alone! Thankfully he's got plenty of talent to go along with his physique and given how quickly he's proved himself a viable Championship option, I think he's going to be at least at this level if not higher.

Prediction: High Championship/Lower Premier League

MM: Some managers would love to have a 6'5" centre-half but sadly the more technical defender is on trend and Cooper will have to make do with League One/Championship football.

Prediction: League One

WO: He looks like the new Alex Pearce except he's better on the ball. Showed he could cope with the Championship last year. A run of games either at Reading or away on loan would only help his development.

Prediction: Championship


Defender: Michael Hector (22)

RH: Premier League defender, there's no doubt about it. Let's just hope it's with Reading.

Prediction: Mid Premier League.

W: Pure class and his international adventures with Jamaica will only help him develop further. No reason at all that he can't be a Premier League defender for years to come.

Prediction: Top Eight Premier League

WO: Only Gylfi Sigurdsson has looked a more classy academy product than Hector. At times last season he was the only player worth watching. If he can cut out the occasional defensive lapses then he's definite Premier League material. If he doesn't then he may end up one of those players who yo-yos between the top two divisions.

Prediction: Lower Premier League/Higher Championship


Defender: Niall Keown (20)

WO: I've watched him three times and been impressed every time. No young player at Reading reads the game better, which isn't surprising considering who his Dad is. The one thing that might hold him back is his versatility. There was nothing between him and Cooper at youth level.

Prediction: Championship

RH:Hard to say. Obviously loves a tackle but there wasn't anything about him that screamed, "Top quality!".

Prediction: Mid Championship.

MM: The curse or the blessing of the famous father, that is the question. Most likely to be a football league level defender, although someone could take a punt based on Daddy. Nepotism and all that.

Prediction: League One


So that's a selection of our views dear Tilehurst Enders but how do you see the fortunes of those five players? Vote in our poll below and we'll have the results along with our look at our chosen midfield and forwards in a few days time. You can see how the voting is progressing here.