Reading have announced their full set of squad numbers ahead of the new season and, although much of it is to be expected, there are some interesting little snippets to come out of the list. First up, here’s the whole thing:
A lot of those numbers are the same as last season, although there are changes with Andy Yiadom coming in at 3 (last given to Tommy Elphick), John O’Shea taking Joey van den Berg’s 4, Leandro Bacuna moving up to pinch Roy Beerens’ 7 and David Meyler nabbing George Evans’ 8. That last one in particular suggests that Evans won’t be an important player for Reading next season.
The big question however is this: who’s getting number 9? Reading’s hunt for a striker has been going on for ages and, according to this squad list leaving nine blank, the hunt could be drawing to a successful conclusion.
Elsewhere, new arrivals Marc McNulty and Sam Walker are given 29 and 28 respectively, but Darren Sidoel is unlisted, giving further evidence that he’ll be in the under-23s next season. The same fate has befallen a number of youngsters who may have been harbouring hopes of first-team involvement: Axel Andresson, Josh Barrett, Ryan East, George Legg, Tyler Frost, Danny Loader, Tom Holmes and Luke Southwood.
Are squad numbers that significant?
Not really, no.
Players tend to keep their old numbers regardless come what may - for example, Liam Kelly will probably be an important player in 2018/19, but he’s stuck to 38. Similarly, long-term injury worries Jordan Obita (11) and Garath McCleary (12) are unlikely to play as regularly as their shirt numbers suggest.
There’s also the caveat that squad numbers can change until August 2 so don’t all go buying your John O’Shea shirts just yet.