We’re now onto the third part of our look through the players that, having been a part of Reading’s academy early on in their career, ultimately ended up making their names at other clubs without playing for the Royals. Having done the Premier League and Championship, it’s now League One’s turn.
While Tennai Watson and former academy player Steve Seddon are just on loan at AFC Wimbledon this season, one former Reading academy player is permanently on their books. Australian midfielder Kosta Sparta made the switch to southwest London in 2018. However, the 19-year-old is yet to play for the Dons’ senior side.
Defender Donervon Daniels was with Reading’s academy until 2009 when he joined West Bromwich Albion at under-18 level. After several loans he made a permanent move to Wigan Athletic in 2015 and, after a successful first season, his 2016/17 season was blighted with injury. He spent 2017/18 on loan at Rochdale, joining Blackpool following his release from Wigan in the summer 2018.
He previously featured 19 times for Blackpool in the Championship on loan from Wigan in 2014/15. Daniels was linked with a return to Reading in January 2019, but the move didn’t come to fruition.
Levi Paul was released by the Royals in the summer of 2018, but was picked up by Bristol Rovers. He’s a defender.
Midfielder Jay Matete departed Reading’s academy in the same summer as Paul, but in this case linked up with Fleetwood’s under-18s on a free transfer.
Shandon Baptiste moved from Reading to Oxford United in the summer of 2015 aged 17 as a scholar. The midfielder first started featuring for Oxford in cup games in 2017/18, making his league debut in August 2018. That was quickly followed by his first senior goal for the side in their 3-0 victory over Newport County in the Carabao Cup on August 28 2018.
Former Hong Kong under-15 international Tsun Dai spent four years at Reading between 2012 and 2016 before departing for Bury. Having broken into the periphery of Bury’s first team he joined Oxford in the summer of 2018 following Bury’s relegation to League Two.
Winger Malachi Napa progressed through Reading’s academy up to the age of 16 when he moved over to Oxford, making his debut in 2017 after a loan at Hampton and Richmond. He later went out on loan to Macclesfield until January 2019.
Another transfer from Reading to Oxford in the summer of 2015 was goalkeeper Manny Agboola. Since joining Oxford, he’s had loans at Hampton and Richmond and Leatherhead, but is currently at Banbury United.
Striker Mathew Stevens was prolific in the Reading academy, particularly during the 2013/14 season where he scored 32 goals at under-16 level. At the end of the 2013/14 season he joined Barnet on a two-year scholarship, making his debut for the Bees in August 2014, becoming their youngest ever player aged 16 years and 204 days.
Stevens scored 57 goals in all competitions (including youth games) in the 2014/15 season – attracting interest from larger clubs, including Swansea City, who had a £250k offer for him rejected in May 2015.
After refusing to sign a new contract in the 2015/16 season, Stevens joined Peterborough. Several loans followed, including a half-season one to Slough Town in the National League South from which he was recalled in early December after scoring 11 goals in 19 games.