It’s awards season again, and we’re after your player of the season for the 2018/19 campaign. The club have already given out their own one - Andy Rinomhota’s victory in that was announced on the Madejski Stadium pitch shortly after full-time on the last day of the season. Congratulations to him.
He’s one of five candidates for the TTE award. Our shortlist also includes two loanees, a consistent figure at the back and the team’s top goalscorer.
To help you decide on a winner, we’ve given you a few stats from our player ratings: each player’s average rating, and the number of man of the match and player of the month awards they’ve taken home. We’ve also let five of our writers make the case for each potential winner. Without further ado, here are your nominees in alphabetical order...
When Jose Gomes arrived in December, it was clear that a new keeper was needed in the January transfer window. What we got though was beyond what any of us were hoping for and expecting.
Emi Martinez has come in and cemented himself into the hearts of the Reading fans for a long time to come. His superb distribution, coupled with some unbelievable shot-stopping, has played a huge part in out run to survival - so much so that it could be argued that without the Argentinian, the Royals wouldn’t have survived the drop at all. For that reason, I believe Martinez deserves to be up there in the running for player of the season.
Whether he is back in blue and white hoops next season remains to be seen. But I’m sure Gomes will be doing everything he can to make sure that he stays in Berkshire after a wonderful few months at the club.
Reading finished the season seven points above the relegation zone, and Yakou Meite’s goals directly earned us seven. That equation alone sums up how important his goals have been.
Yes, it’s been a season of feast and famine for the newly capped Ivory Coast forward, with runs of six goals in four games, followed by none in 13, before his season-ending spell of six in nine. However, the fact remains he’ll end the campaign with 12 Championship goals, nearly 25% of our total tally and if you take those away, relegation would be almost certain.
Some players have that intangible It Factor and the indication so far is that Yakou is one of them. When he gets the ball or makes a surging run you’re not fully sure what’s going to come next, but he produces moments that few others have managed in a largely dour season.
While his long-term attitude and determination have been questioned by Jose Gomes, Meite undoubtedly progressed this season and gave us a tantalising glimpse of what could follow in the future. I’m voting for him because, while Yakou may not have managed a season of consistent quality, he produced the most moments that mattered.
Matt Miazga is the best centre-back to play for Reading since Alex Pearce was in his prime. Of all the five loan signings, he has been the best - and that is saying something. Reading fans may say we would be relegated without Jose Gomes, I think we can also say we would have been relegated without Matt Miazga.
Game after game, he has put in commanding performances; clearing crosses, tightly marking his man and easing the pressure with long clearances. We used to take these assets for granted in our centre-backs. After years of relying on Liam Moore, we’ve remembered what a true Premier League class defender can do. It’s fair enough if you don’t want to vote for a loanee for player of the season, but if that doesn’t bother you, it has to be Miazga.
It is rare that a player can make such an impact at Championship level without having a spell in the lower leagues first, but Andy Rinomhota has done just that in his breakthrough season at Reading. Despite only turning 22 in April, he has added a composure and drive to the midfield that the Royals had been severely lacking, and every time he gets on the ball he exerts class.
Rinomhota has perfected the role of sitting just in front of the defence, offering protection to the backline (he’s made the second highest number of tackles in the team) as well as pushing the team forward. His first senior goal, a 97th minute equaliser away to eventual champions Norwich, was one of the key moments of the season.
Reading’s Mr Consistent. The only player to start the first and last game of the season, making 45 appearances from a possible 46 in the league. He’s played either side of a back four and even slotted in to midfield when needed. Wherever he’s been selected to play he’s performed, a quality that was looking rather rare at one point in the season. Here’s to my player of the season and Mr Consistent - Andy Yiadom.
Pannas and Nutmegs
Vote for your player of the season
Made your choice? You can cast your ballot below in the attached poll. If it doesn’t show up on the page, you can use this link instead.