The summer clear out has officially begun, with Reading today confirming that none of the senior players with contracts expiring will be offered new deals this summer.
It means that Paul McShane, Callum Harriott, Anssi Jaakkola, John O’Shea (retiring), Joey van den Berg and Danzell Gravenberch all depart the Madejski Stadium, having made 247 appearances for the Royals between them.
As Jose Gomes looks to transform his squad this summer, letting these players go is largely unsurprising, especially considering none were regulars in the 2018/19 season. Captain McShane featured just five times, with four of those appearances coming last August, as his struggles with injury continued. He ends a four year association at the club, which had made him the fourth longest serving player. Meanwhile, McShane’s Irish compatriot O’Shea bid farewell to football with a guard of honour in the final game of the season against Birmingham, but could remain at the club in a coaching capacity.
Harriott returned from two years on the sidelines by coming off the bench and scoring against Swansea on New Year’s Day, but he would go on to start just twice in the second half of the campaign. After a promising start to his Royals career, the 25-year-old may well be wondering what could have been had he not got injured just seconds before Reading’s game with Fulham was abandoned at the end of 2016.
A backup goalkeeper for the majority of his three years in Berkshire, Anssi Jaakkola enjoyed his only sustained run in the team earlier this season, winning The Tilehurst End Player of the Month award for October and November. He would never feature again though following Emiliano Martinez’s arrival on loan from Arsenal.
Finally, van den Berg and Gravenberch both spent last season out on loan at NEC and KSV Roeselare respectively, and were never likely to re-sign. van den Berg, a regular in his first two seasons at the club, said he was glad to be rid of the club last summer, whilst Gravenberch has already started advertising on LinkedIn to find his next team.
In addition to the first team exits, it was confirmed last month that academy goalkeeper George Legg would be moving on this summer. The 23-year-old, who had 11 different loan spells away from the club, never made a senior appearance but was named on the substitutes bench on eight occasions. The decision has also been made to let go Jamal Balogun, Cameron Green, Moroyin Omolabi, Joel Rollinson, Ademola Shokunbi and Jazz Wallace from the Under-23s and Jacob Pemberton, James Hillson, Shamar Moore, Terrance Saydee, Khalid Simmo and Thomas Stevens from the Under-18s.
However, congratulations are in order for the group of youngsters who have been offered new deals going into the 2019/20 season. Tyler Frost, Adam Liddle and Ramarni Medford-Smith were all regulars for the Under-23s last season and will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of the five academy players who have made their first team debuts in the last six months. Furthermore, a first professional contract has been offered to Under-18 players Adam Desbois, Marcel Elva-Fountaine and Roberto Nditi.