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Reading’s 25 Under 25: Part Five

We round out our final five ‘minor Royals’.

Reading v Leicester Photo by Ker Robertson/Getty Images

It’s the final part of our look through some of Reading’s most notable players to have made 25 or fewer appearances for the club.


Daniel Carriço

3 appearances, now plays for Sevilla

One of the more bizarre stories in Reading history, Portuguese international Carriço started his career after rising through the ranks of Sporting Lisbon’s academy. After loans at Olhanense and AEL Limassol, he proceeded to make 157 appearances in the league, Champions League and Europa League, scoring five times.

He made a surprise transfer to Reading in January 2013 for the relatively small fee of €750,000, but his time at the Royals was nothing short of disastrous. His debut came as he started against West Bromwich Albion, playing a disappointing 45 minutes as Reading went into the break 0-1 down. Carriço only played 42 more minutes for Reading, all in two substitute appearances. When he was introduced against Man City at the Mad Stad, he was met with chants of “We forgot that you were here”.

After the Royals’ relegation, the Portuguese was loaned out to Sevilla for the 2013/14 season, completing a permanent move at the end of that season. Including his time on loan, Carriço has made 70 league appearances and scored four goals. Most impressively, he also has two Europa League winner’s medals to his name and made his Portugal debut in 2015.

He’s set to play against Reading for the first time since his departure later this month, with the Royals taking on Sevilla in a friendly that’s open to the public.


Mikkel Andersen

5 appearances, now plays for Midtjylland

The big Dane surely goes down as the Reading player who waited the longest between signing and making his debut for the club. In fact, he arrived all the way back in 2007 during the Royals’ first time in the Premier League as a young, up-and-coming goalkeeper.

However, with Reading enjoying a fine selection of goalkeepers over the next seven years or so, Andersen was largely restricted to loan appearances. He could only watch on as Marcus Hahnemann, Adam Federici, Alex McCarthy and others were given their chance - but not him. Even Stuart Taylor made his Reading debut before Andersen, finishing with four appearances.

In 2014, Andersen was finally given his first-team opportunity, making his debut in a 1-0 loss at Sheffield Wednesday. He would play a further four times, the final appearance coming in a 2-1 defeat to Rotherham United on April 28 2015. That remains the last time an academy graduate goalkeeper played a competitive game for Reading. The opposing goalie that day? Emiliano Martinez.

Andersen would return to Denmark after his contract expired, playing for Midtjylland in two spells and Lyngby BK in one. It was at Midtjylland that he tasted Europa League football, even playing Manchester United twice in the round of 16 - winning the first tie 2-1 but losing the second 5-1 at Old Trafford.

FC Midtjylland vs Manchester United - UEFA Europa League Round of 32: First Leg Photo by Lars Ronbog / FrontZoneSport via Getty Images

Les Ferdinand

12 appearances, now Director of Football at QPR

Affectionately known in some corners of London as “Sir Les”, Ferdinand is a legend in blue and white hoops. Unfortunately, it is from the time spent in his early career at QPR, for whom he scored 63 goals in 120 appearances.

He would move to Newcastle for two seasons, finishing each as a Premier League runner up and scoring 45 goals in 73 games. A transfer to his boyhood club Tottenham followed, and he won the 1999 League Cup during his six-year spell there. Ferdinand finished his injury-disrupted Spurs career with 34 goals from 120 appearances and had also received the last of his 17 England caps during that spell.

After short spells at West Ham, Leicester and Bolton – his time in Lancashire infamous for his weekly helicopter commute from London – the 39-year-old joined the Royals in January 2005, with fellow former England international Martin Keown also joining the club at that time.

However, Ferdinand failed to impress as he dropped to the Championship, scoring only one goal in 12 games as Reading narrowly missed out on a play-off spot. He left the club at the end of the season and has since held non-playing positions at former clubs QPR and Tottenham.


Martin Peters and George Best

1 appearance each, now retired and deceased respectively

It’s not every day that footballing royalty pulls on the blue and white hoops, and it’s even more rare that two such royals do so on the same day. However, on October 29 1984, that’s exactly what happened at Elm Park.

Ian Branfoot’s Reading took on New Zealand in a home friendly, losing 2-1 despite Stuart Beavon scoring, and the usual side was joined by two well-known players: England World Cup winner Martin Peters and Manchester United legend George Best. Peters, who’d made around 700 appearances for West Ham United, Tottenham Hotspur and Norwich City, had retired from professional football in January 1981 after a spell at Sheffield United.

Best’s career on the other hand had been gradually winding down with spells all over the world. Following his departure from Old Trafford in 1974, Best popped up in South Africa, Dunstable, Cork, Los Angeles, Fulham, Scotland, Hong Kong and Australia to name just some places graced by his presence.

Peters sadly suffers from Alzheimer’s, with Sir Geoff Hurst stating in 2017 that he did not think Peters remembered either him or the World Cup win in 1966. Best passed away in hospital in 2005 aged 59 due to multiple organ failure and a lung infection.