With a pause from club action (thankfully), Jacob Potter reviews the international games that Royals players have featured in over the international break.
Bacuna’s Curacao side have continued their dominant start to their CONCACAF Nations League qualification campaign by following up their 10-0 win over Grenada with a 5-0 demolition of the US Virgin Islands. The Reading midfielder was on target once again as he slotted home a second-half penalty to add to the goal he scored in his previous match.
The form of Reading’s American hotshot striker hasn’t gone unnoticed by Dave Sarachan, coach of the USA senior side. Novakovich, still only 22, has just picked up his third cap for his country, which came in a six-minute cameo at the end of a 4-2 loss to Colombia.
Novakovich wasn’t given the opportunity to make it four caps a few days later, instead staying an unused substitute as the USA drew 1-1 with Peru.
The Welsh right-back divides opinion amongst the Reading fan base, but one thing you cannot fault about Gunter is his commitment. He took his tally of appearances for Wales to 91 over the international break in games against Spain and the Republic of Ireland.
Gunter played the full 90 minutes in a disappointing 4-1 defeat to Spain, but he was only named as a substitute for their crucial 1-0 win over Ireland in Dublin where Harry Wilson scored a stunning free-kick to send Wales top of the group.
The Reading man replaced Wilson with five minutes remaining to move to within one appearance away from equalling the record number of international caps record for Wales. That’s a record Gunter will be hopeful of passing on the next international break.
The Irish international has struggled for game time since his absence in the Royals side and it was a similar story for his country. Meyler was an unused substitute for Ireland’s draw to Denmark and also watched on from the sidelines as his team were defeated by Chris Gunter’s Wales.
Reading’s third choice goalkeeper has struggled for game time this season, and having not featured in a first-team game for Paul Clement’s side, Jaakkola was an unused substitute in both of Finland’s wins over the international break. Finland won both of their matches and are top of their UEFA Nations League group with four wins from four matches.
Ezatolahi has been a rare bright spark in a poor Reading season but Carlos Queiroz didn’t risk him due to an injury picked up in training.
His Iran side did beat Bolivia in a friendly 2-1 and they will soon be concentrating on their Asian Cup campaign that gets underway in the New Year.
Yiadom has arguably been Reading’s best player this season and that’s despite playing out of position at left-back for large parts of the Royals’ league campaign. He was due to face Sierra Leone in a double-header, but the games were cancelled and rescheduled for a later date due to a FIFA ban on Sierra Leone. Ghana now have two games in hand on Kenya and Ethiopia who currently occupy the top two spots in their African Cup of Nations qualifying group.
The Icelander racked up a total of 180 minutes at under-21 level, but couldn’t prevent his team coming away with back-to-back defeats. The first was a close affair, Iceland beaten 1-0 at home by Northern Ireland, but the second was far from it, a Spain side full of quality blowing Andresson’s team away in a 7-2 win.
However, the academy graduate is doing well at club level - read all about his exploits with Norwegian side Viking in the latest Loan Report.
The England youth international played a part in two wins for the under-19s, although he didn’t score in either. Loader started in a 4-1 rout of Portugal, before being a late second-half substitute in the team that thrashed Macedonia 6-2 at St George’s Park.
The young centre back, who plays for Reading at under-23 level, was called up to Scotland’s under-21 squad for two games: Ukraine and England. However, he didn’t feature in either match, with Scotland losing 3-1 to Ukraine and 2-0 to England.