It’s been a particularly rough season for Reading’s wingers so far - a lot of them have had injury problems, but those that haven’t are largely yet to impress. On the whole, we’re left with four players to grade in the latest section of our mini squad review: Garath McCleary, Sone Aluko, Modou Barrow and Josh Sims.
Below, we’ve marked how well their seasons have gone so far - spoiler, not well. If you don’t agree, you can have your own say right here.
PS/ We’ve counted Yakou Meite as a striker.
TTE average rating: 5.6
The Jamaican had a very belated start to his 2018/19 season, getting his first appearance of the campaign in the 3-1 win over Millwall. He’s since played a further four times as he gradually builds up his fitness.
Excluding a game-changing display against Ipswich Town, he’s generally not been as sharp as he was pre-injury. But, given his age and the length of time he was out for, that’s to be expected. With experience and ability to stretch the play down the right hand side of the pitch, he should be a useful asset for the remainder of the season.
TTE average rating: 5.0
I love it when a player bounces back from a dire performance or season, proving all their critics wrong, but Aluko just hasn’t done that. The former Fulham has had plenty of game time but hasn’t made the most of it, with 2017/18’s confidence issues seemingly still holding him back.
As things stand, something big has to change for Aluko, whether it’s a change of manager or him leaving the club. Frustratingly, there is a good player in there, but we’ve not seen it.
TTE average rating: 5.2
Barrow seemed to enjoy playing under Jaap Stam a lot, but the opposite is true of his relation with Paul Clement. The pacey winger has looked more restrained and less confident in the last few months than he did in 2017/18, and was even briefly exiled from the team not that long ago.
Although his situation isn’t as bad as Aluko’s, Barrow similarly needs something need to start going in his favour. If that doesn’t happen, he just needs to knuckle down, put the work in and ensure he stays in the team.
TTE average rating: 5.5
The youngster’s arrival on loan from Southampton was met with much excitement, but it’s not gone so well for Sims thus far - and it’s unclear why. He’s certainly a talented guy, and fitness hasn’t been an issue, but Paul Clement just hasn’t trusted him with a run of starts.
You’d assume there’s a reason behind-the-scenes, whether it’s attitude or fitness related, so how well the rest of the season will go for Sims is anyone’s guess. There’s also the possibility of him being recalled by Southampton if they’d prefer him to get minutes elsewhere.
Who else is there?
Callum Harriott has been a long-term injury worry, but recent appearances for the under-23s suggest he’s not that far off a first outing since December 2016. Similarly, Adrian Popa’s fitness has been lacking, and has only managed a cameo off the bench in the 1-0 defeat to Bolton Wanderers. Academy man Tyler Frost is one to watch for the future.