Yesterday, we started off our look at the Reading academy graduates that have made their names elsewhere by looking at the Premier League. Today, it’s the Championship’s turn.
Again, it’s worth noting that this is an incomplete collection - more of a snapshot of Reading’s academy success rather than an exhaustive list. The ones included have caught the eye for whatever reason in recent times. Some clubs may have changed by the time of publication.
21-year-old left-back Steve Seddon joined Reading’s academy through being spotted locally playing for Twyford Comets. In 2014, he moved to Birmingham City after a successful trial.
His first professional loan started in 2018/19 with a six-month loan to Stevenage Town. However, after its expiration in January, he moved onto to AFC Wimbledon (again on a temporary basis) where he featured on the opposite flank to current Royal Tennai Watson.
Reading-born midfielder Ben Gladwin has followed a similar path to another academy graduate that never turn out for the Royals: Charlie Austin. Both started at the Madejski Stadium but, having failed to make the grade, ending up catching the eye in non-league - Austin at Poole Town, Gladwin at Marlow. Like Austin, Gladwin then moved to Swindon Town and eventually Queens Park Rangers.
Now, Gladwin is at Blackburn Rovers - and has been since 2017. However, he’s had to deal with serious injury during that time and so his development stalled somewhat.
Centre-back Angus MacDonald began his career in Reading’s academy, remaining with the Berkshire side until his release aged 21 in May 2013. After joining Salisbury for the 2013/14 season, he caught the eye of newly relegated National League side Torquay who signed him the season after.
In his two seasons at the Devon club, MacDonald became club captain. His performances earned him a move to Championship side Barnsley in the summer of 2016, with MacDonald becoming the captain at Barnsley in the summer of 2017. Six months later, he swapped Barnsley for another Championship club, Hull City.
Irish centre-back Conor Shaughnessy started his career as a central midfielder in Reading’s academy at 16, spending four years as a regular in the under-18s and under-23s. While his midfield partner Liam Kelly was catching the eye and earning plaudits, Shaughnessy never really seemed to move any closer to the first team, only padding out the squad for his last couple of years.
After his release in May 2016, Shaughnessy joined Leeds’ academy in September, featuring for the development side in 2016/17. He caught the eye of Thomas Christiansen in 2017, making his debut from the bench in the opening game of the 2017/18 season. Unfortunately, he only got a total of nine appearances before injury ruled him out the rest of the year.
After reassurances from Marcelo Bielsa that he would feature in his plans in 2018/19, Shaughnessy moved to Hearts on loan in January having not featured for Leeds to that point.
Camberley-born George Saville was part of Reading’s academy until 2004, when he was 11 years old. He would spend the next three years at Chelsea, appearing on loan for Millwall and Brentford but never for the Blues’ senior side.
A move to Wolverhampton Wanderers followed, including loan spells at Bristol City and Millwall (again), before joining the Lions permanently in 2017. After some eye-catching performances, including a brace against Jaap Stam’s Reading in 2017, he was eventually snapped up by Middlesbrough in 2018/19 - first on loan, then permanently for a fee in the region of £8 million.
Reading’s 2018 accounts, submitted to Companies House, show that the Royals earned some cash from Saville’s development thanks to a sell-on clause, although we don’t have any more specific information on that.
Midfielder Jorge Grant came through the ranks at Reading’s academy before departing at 18. After nine months at the Loughborough University-based Nike Academy, Grant joined Forest at the age of 18.
At the point of writing, Grant has made 17 appearances for Forest in the Championship between 2014 and 2017, alongside eye-catching spells at Notts County in 2016/17 and 2017/18 in League Two. Grant spent the first half of the season on loan at Luton Town in League One before moving to Mansfield in League Two for the remainder of the season.
West Bromwich Albion
18-year-old Welsh centre-back/defensive midfielder Pablo Martinez was with the Reading academy in 2016/17 season. However, he left in the summer to join West Brom, regularly featuring for their under-18s in 2018/19. Martinez has featured for Wales at under-17 and under-19 age groups.