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Reading Turn Down Chance To Sign Dutch Defender

Mark Bouwman was on trial in Berkshire back in October.

Vitesse Arnhem v West Bromwich Albion - Fox Sports Cup Photo by Adam Fradgley - AMA/WBA FC via Getty Images

The Dutch Revolution in Berkshire will not be gaining another member as Reading decided not to hand 19 year old centre-back Mark Bouwman a contract following a trial last year.

Dutch website Het Kontakt Harderwijk have reported that Bouwman was a free agent at the time of his trial in October, and that he largely trained with the Under 23 side and played a couple of matches as well.

The defender had been in the Vitesse Arnhem academy from 2009 to 2015 but couldn't break through at the Eredivisie club, so moved to Brabant United. However, he lasted only a season with the Under 21s before becoming a free agent last summer. The trial at Reading came about due to the fact that Bouwman's agent, Henk Timmer, is also the agent of Jaap Stam and is pictured below (second from right) upon Stam arriving at Reading in the summer. Timmer is also the agent of Joey van den Berg and Anssi Jaakkola.

It seems that Reading pulled out all the stops whilst Bouwman was in England, with the 19 year old recalling*:

"Everything was super organised. They paid all the hotel, the food, my return flight and for my father who also came two days. It was all to enjoy."

He also told the Dutch site of his playing experience with the Under 23s*:

"As I drove to Hogwood Park, I got butterflies in my stomach. The gate opened and shut behind you again. I trained five times and played two test matches. Among themselves and against Brentford under 23. That match we were 4-1 on the pants and I played a little less. I regretted very much, because there were scouts along the line and the coach. Reading under 23 playing in the Premier League II against Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United and City. If I have to think I could play there ... that was a dream."

And it appears that Bouwman did not do enough to impress on trial and is yet to even get a response from the club*:

To this day, he [Timmer] heard nothing more from England. My good feelings quickly went the other way. Henk has done his best and wanted a lot of contact, but heard nothing more. I find that very disappointing. If it is no, say so. There are a lot of promises not kept [in football]. [At] Vitesse I was one week a potential first-team player and the next week I could go."

Another Dutch media outlet, de Stentor, claim that Reading wanted to wait until the end of the season to make a decision but Bouwman was not willing to wait that long. He has since joined amateur side DVS'33 Ermelo, who play in the third tier of Dutch football.

So it doesn't seem as though Reading have missed out a particularly talented player considering his career so far and what he has gone on to since the trial, but like many players, Bouwman may go on to prove his critics wrong...

*quotes originally in Dutch and translated through Google Translate so may not be 100% accurate. "That match we were 4-1 on the pants" is certainly a questionable line!