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Hunty's Column: International Royals

It's International week, so Hunty takes the chance to reflect on some notable Reading caps.

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So transfer deadline day has been and gone and as we're now in an International break, any chance I can be sent off to Australia for a break of my own?

So what have been some memorable moments for little old Reading and their players on the international scene?

Up until 20 years or so ago, the thought of a Reading player representing their country was almost unheard of, unless it was a loan signing like Scotland keeper Jim Leighton.

Yet that started to change in the final years of Elm Park, with classy Dariusz Wdowczyk, our young promising centre-back by the name of Ady Williams, that flashy Aussie full-back Andy Bernal and the veteran presence of Jimmy Quinn all off representing their nations on a fairly regular basis.

Those guys started to put us on the World map but not all the International class sizzled, with 35-year-old Ray Houghton arriving in 1997, living and seemingly eating, off the back of his glories with the Republic of Ireland in years past. The trend for signing over the hill players with International pedigree continued into the Millennium as Robert Fleck, Shaun Goater, Paul Bodin and others, all pitching up well past their primes.

But in 2003 along came a former International footballer who had seen his own career on the world stage curtailed by injury far too young in Sir Steve Coppell. If you've never seen him play do yourself a favour and check out videos like the one below, as for me he was one of the most skillful players to pull on an England shirt.

With Coppell's arrival, the culture at the club continued the changes set in place by Alan Pardew. Current Internationals still in their prime like Ivar Ingimarsson and Bobby Convey were recruited to lead the club into a new era while players previously on the fringes of their national teams like Marcus Hahnemann suddenly were receiving call-ups with increasing regularity.

That trend continued with players including Greame Murty, Kevin Doyle and Shane Long, while in perhaps the biggest moment of all, we had a current Reading player called up to the ENGLAND squad in Nicky Shorey. Seeing him play against Brazil and Germany was a massively proud moment as a Reading fan. Yes we all know what happened in the following years but you can't take that away from us!

As the great Melanie C once said 'things will never be the same again' and they certainly weren't but in the following years we've seen internationals from Mali, South Korea, Jamaica and beyond join Reading. Yes I know in some cases like Pog they cost a shed load of money but it's pretty amazing to see our players perform in European Championships, World Cups & even the Copa America!

The future looks equally bright, with a great Academy now being run by Lee Herron, who I'm sure will continue the great work of Eamonn Dolan coupled with the arrival of a former top International in Jaap Stam. Stam has already been able to attract a number of players with International pedigree, alongside ones who have the potential to go on to represent their countries, so the future bright and the future is orange!

Have a great week everyone!