Ahead of tomorrow’s kit launch, Reading have announced what shirt numbers all the players will be wearing next season. Sure, it’s not the biggest news to come out of pre-season, but it could give us clues about the manager’s plans for his squad.
Here’s the list in full:
1 Vito Mannone; 2 Chris Gunter; 3 Jake Cooper; 4 Joey van den Berg; 5 Paul McShane; 6 Liam Moore; 7 Roy Beerens; 8 George Evans; 9 Joseph Mendes; 10 John Swift; 11 Jordan Obita; 12 Garath McCleary; 15 Callum Harriott; 17 Sandro Wieser; 18 Yann Kermorgant; 19 Yakou Meite; 20 Tiago Ilori; 21 Stephen Quinn; 22 Pelle Clement; 23 Jón Daði Böðvarsson; 24 Tyler Blackett; 25 Adrian Popa; 28 Danzell Gravenberch; 30 Tennai Watson; 31 Anssi Jaakkola; 38 Liam Kelly; 43 George Legg
Summer arrivals Vito Mannone (1), Pelle Clement (22) and Jón Daði Böðvarsson (23) take up their first Reading shirts. We can’t really read too much into the last two, but giving Mannone the number one jersey only a few days after his arrival is a big indication that he is indeed expected to be first choice this season.
He pinches that from former Watford player Jonathan Bond, who’s been shipped out on loan to Peterborough United this summer.
Switches in the squad
Deniss Rakels’ departure for Lech Poznan started a bit of a domino effect within the squad, with John Swift taking the vacant number 10 jersey. George Evans was given Swift’s eight, with Liam Moore getting Evans’ six.
Despite enjoying a terrific campaign in 2016/17, Liam Kelly retains 38. You would have thought he’d earned a lower number, but perhaps he sees 38 as his lucky charm?
Jake Cooper, who’s been strongly linked with a permanent move to Millwall this summer, sticks with 3. Perhaps he’ll stay after all?
Who isn’t on the list at all?
A couple of players don’t feature in the official squad list, and aren’t given a number. That’s true of Jonathan Bond, Deniss Rakels and Andrija Novakovic, who are all out on loan.
Additionally, some young players who could have been challenging to get into the squad aren’t included. Some of the key examples here are Axel Andresson, Rob Dickie, Josh Barrett and Sam Smith. Of course, this doesn’t rule out their involvement this season completely, but does suggest they’re not in Stam’s immediate plans.