Joao Virginia: 5
A rough afternoon for the young ‘keeper, who conceded three goals in his first match in senior football although I wouldn’t say any of them were his fault too much. Needs to work on his distribution and command of his box, although it may simply be a case of him getting used to Championship football. The ability is certainly there.
Andy Yiadom: 5
Given a rough afternoon by an electric Kadeem Harris, which wasn’t made any easier by Jose Gomes’ desire for his full-backs to play high up.
Terrific play in the first half when he cut inside from the right and saw his shot blocked by a Sheffield Wednesday arm on the line, but he faded as the match went on.
Liam Moore: 5
Not his usual commanding self defensively, and his distribution was noticeably worse than we’re used to. Turned far too easily by Kadeem Harris just before the opener.
Matt Miazga: 5
Looked uncomfortable playing as a left centre-back rather than being on the right. Stopped a sure-fire goal with an instinctive header right before Wednesday went 2-1 up, but probably should have been tighter to Lucas Joao for the third goal.
Omar Richards: 4
He just looks out of his depth at this level. Richards doesn’t inspire confidence defensively, isn’t sure of himself on the ball, and offers little going forwards. Reading badly need Tyler Blackett back in the side, but that could be a few weeks away.
Andy Rinomhota: 5
Rino was given a tough job of anchoring Reading’s midfield, having to do much of the legwork on his own as he was partnered by the more lightweight John Swift. Because of that, I don’t think we should be too harsh on him, but he was certainly below his usual standard.
As he was anchoring the midfield, Rino had far less license to drive forwards with the ball - a trademark ability that gives our midfield an important extra dimension. When he did it, the one covering was Swift - so little defensive solidity there.
John Swift: 5
He was deployed alongside Rinomhota deep in the midfield, and stayed there pretty constantly. Even when Charlie Adam came on, Swift was used as a deep-lying player rather than being pushed up into the ten role.
Although he had some good touches and played some nice passes, Swift didn’t offer enough solidity in the middle of the park. Although he’s got a similar technical skillset to Lewis Baker - last season’s deep playmaker - Swift doesn’t balance out the midfield and cover for others in the same way.
He needs a freer role higher up the pitch where he can get on the ball in more dangerous areas and unlock defences - but without the defensive duties that hold him back.
Danny Loader: 4
In games like this, you want Loader to show his arrogance, getting on the ball and making things happen - but he just didn’t do that. He frequently took the easy option, passing backwards or sideways rather than going forwards to put Reading on the front foot.
For a player who is in the side to create, that’s just not good enough, and for me is more about mindset than about how he was deployed tactically - either on the right of midfield or as more of a number ten, although he had a stint leading the line in the second half before being subbed off.
He also gave the ball away carelessly in the first half for a chance that Harris could have done better with. Loader has a lot to learn from today.
Josh Barrett: 6
Generally that bit sharper and more positive than those around him, and created Reading’s goal with a delightful floated pass for Meite to head home.
Played in a few roles throughout the afternoon - generally either on the left (of a 4-2-2-2 or 4-2-3-1) or more centrally as a number ten. He showed that he’s versatile enough to fill in wherever required, but is probably better suited to being in the middle of the park, with his lack of pace holding him back as an out-and-out winger.
Modou Barrow: 4
Similarly anonymous to Loader, whether he was playing centrally or out wide. Missed a glorious chance in the first half, when he should have buried the ball after Yiadom’s shot had hit a hand. He also blazed over in the second half after being fed by Barrett.
His only real positive contribution was to get onto the end of Michael Olise’s lofted pass before being wiped out by Kieran Westwood - who was sent off.
Yakou Meite: 5
Took his goal really well, deftly guiding a header over Kieran Westwood to make it 1-1 in the second half. But, beyond getting his head on the end of a cross, he’s not much use as a lone striker.
Against Wednesday, Meite was far too isolated in open play, didn’t make things happen, and just wasn’t good enough at holding the ball up and bringing others into play. He’s just not suited to leading the line in this system, and must be moved out wide in future.
Charlie Adam: 6
Generally played as a number ten - to my surprise as he lacks the mobility for that role. He was involved in a few attacks and moved the ball around fairly well, but I would have preferred him deeper, in front of the defence, so that Swift could have been pushed up.
Michael Olise: 6
Looked bright on the right wing after coming on, and played a beautiful pass through for Barrow that saw the Gambian wiped out by Westwood. Much more proactive in finding space than Loader, and should have come on earlier.
Andrija Novakovich: N/A
He wasn’t on the pitch long enough to get a rating.
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