Huge congratulations are in order to Reading’s under-23s who have reached the quarter-finals of the Premier League International Cup. They beat Feyenoord 2-0 at the Madejski Stadium on Wednesday night, which puts them top of their four-team group.
Goals from Dave Edwards and Ben House proved to be the difference on a night when Reading played a very experienced side. Besides Edwards, there were also starts for Vito Mannone, Omar Richards, David Meyler and Jon Dadi Bodvarsson.
You can read a full report of how the match unfolded here.
It’s testament to the fine work Scott Marshall has been doing with the under-23s. Although he’s now in charge of the first-team - David Dodds managing for the Feyenoord match - this side is very much Marshall’s. They’re going strongly in the league too, sitting third, and have recently finished a 14-game unbeaten run.
This success can, hopefully, have two big positives for Reading’s senior team. Firstly, Marshall is evidently a decent manager, although obviously it’s to be seen whether or not he can translate that to a higher age group, and if he even gets an extended chance to do so.
Secondly, there are some very promising players in the under-23s. Although the side that beat Feyenoord contained several veterans, there are a few bright talents we should be keeping our eyes on. In particular, Ryan East and Jack Nolan (the latter has scored for England’s under-17s) could inject some spark into Reading’s midfield.
Similarly, Ben House is a goal-scoring machine and has the physicality to hold the ball up - always a useful trait when the first-team tend to play one up top - and Oli Pendlebury is involved with the under-23s despite only being 16. A former captain at youth level for England, he’ll go far in the game.
Those are only a few names though - this is a very promising group on the whole, and we’ll hopefully see plenty of them get chances in the first-team over the next year or so.
It’ll also be interesting to see how many of the experienced players that got game time for the under-23s have a long-term future at the club. Reading’s desire to trim their squad is no secret, and David Meyler, Dave Edwards and Vito Mannone may all end up heading out in January.
You’d assume that won’t happen with Jon Dadi Bodvarsson, but with Yakou Meite and Andrija Novakovich developing well, he might be down the pecking order next season.