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Reading FC Rookie Of The Year 2016/17

Which young newcomer made the biggest breakthrough at Reading this season?


It's time to put Wembley behind us but before we close the book on 2016/17 we have to recognise some of the best bits from what still has to be regarded as a successful and promising season. Today we kick that off by recognising the young players who made a big impact and deserve to take home the Rookie of the Year award.

The two previous winners of this coveted honour have been Jake Cooper in 2015 and Aaron Tshibola last season.

Criteria wise, we'll only be considering those 22 and under on August 1st 2016 and with less than five Reading starts behind them coming in to this season. Likewise we'll only be considering those who are permanent signings.

Furthermore You must have made five Reading starts or a combined 10 sub appearances + starts this season to qualify.

You can read a bit more behind why we've put that criteria in place in last season's vote article.

Tyler Blackett

Appearances: 40 - Goals: 0 - TTE Average Rating: 5.7

A really hit and miss season for the former United youngster. When played in a back three he seemed to really excel, notably away at Fulham, yet he was often asked to play left-back, a role he never seemed really comfortable with.

He's got talent, is decent on the ball and can defend well, so he's got a good future. Yet he needs to prove he's one of the best two centre-backs at the club, something he might find tricky with Liam Moore, Paul McShane and now Tiago Ilori all impressing.

Callum Harriott

Appearances: 17 - Goals: 3 - TTE Average Rating: 5.9

Harriott's injury around Christmas was one of the sad stories of the season, especially as the winger had just started to really put in some impressive performances. His two goals against the MK Dons showed what he's capable of and fingers crossed he can come back strong during pre-season.

Liam Kelly

Appearances: 34 - Goals: 1 - TTE Average Rating: 6.0

Hands up who expected Liam Kelly to be one of the big breakthrough players this summer? While he'd gained some hype on YouTube a few years before due to some stunning goals, Kelly's stock had seemingly fallen to the point where he spent the end of last year in non-league football.

Yet Jaap Stam liked what he saw in the Irishman and while he had a couple of wobbles along the way, Kelly turned into a big part of a successful squad. His five assists in the league were only surpassed by Garath McCleary and at only 21, he's got lots of time to improve.

Yakou Meite

Appearances: 14 - Goals: 1 - TTE Average Rating: 5.7

Still very raw but there were enough encouraging signs from Yak v2.0 to suggest he could really be a good player for this football club down the line. With only one league start to his name he didn't make a massive impact this season, a campaign also hindered by niggling injuries.

Fingers crossed that a year in a new country and getting used to the club have set him up for bigger and better things next season.

Dominic Samuel

Appearances: 12 - Goals: 2 - TTE Average Rating: 5.7

Yes, despite making his Reading debut in 2012, Samuel is still eligible for this award. That sentence alone tells the story of the striker's Reading career so far, one which has always had promise but never really broken through. This season Samuel can't complain that he wasn't at least given a chance, having made six consecutive starts over the early winter, when Yann Kermorgant was dealing with injuries. He did score twice in that run against Burton and Blackburn but otherwise didn't really look comfortable leading the line.

Dom was then loaned out to Ipswich before his injury curse struck again. Sadly he's now really running out of chances to show he's cut out for the top level and with his contract up next summer, this pre-season may make or break his Reading career.

John Swift

Appearances: 42 - Goals 9 - TTE Average Rating: 5.9

His Wembley performance was underwhelming but overall Swift was one of the best signings we've made in a long time. Nine goals from midfield is impressive for anyone and he also had four assists in the Championship on top of that.

The former Chelsea youngster did fade somewhat after a missing six games over Christmas after being injured on International duty but overall he can feel proud for a fine season of work. It's easy to forget that like Kelly, he's still only 21, but he has a chance to represent his country this summer at the European U21 Championship, which can only help him improve.


Tennai Watson doesn't make it on to the ballot after only making seven appearances, of which four were starts. His biggest problem is having Chris Gunter ahead of him but he showed he's capable of stepping in when required.

Danzell Gravenberch made five appearances without really making a notable impression. Reece Oxford doesn't make it as a loanee but didn't really show why he's been so hyped at West Ham either.

George Evans was on last season's ballot, so misses out this time around.

Overall, it's heartening to see so many players on the ballot this season. It shows that there's a good young core of players at the club who should only get better.

So give us your vote in the poll above. We want your top three in order of preference, with a first place vote earning 5 points, 3 for second and 1 for third.