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Augustus McGiff: I’m Like A Firmino

Reading academy starlet Augustus McGiff talks to TTE about his playing style, Mark Bowen, moving to England and more...

Augustus McGiff with Matt Miazga
Augustus McGiff on Instagram

First of all, talk me through your incredible bicycle kick on your Reading U23s debut, how did that feel?

It was amazing really because we always knew it was going to be a hard game going to Charlton - a very good team. I was excited to make my first appearance for the 23s; I wanted to score but I didn’t think it would in that fashion - it just came to me, I tried something and it worked out.

How would you describe yourself as a player to the Reading fans? What sort of attributes do you possess as a forward?

As a player I would that I’m not your typical out-and-out big number nine; I press a lot, I’m a very hardworking nine, I’m more creative.

I wouldn’t say I’m like a Lacazette, I’m more like a Firmino: I like to drop back, play it wide and have good link-up play with the midfielders because I can also play as a centre attacking midfielder, and on the wings.

How have you found England since moving over? Have the club been good with helping you settle in and have you had a chance to speak with Mark Bowen since he joined club?

Yeah, I’ve had one training session with the first-team and when I trained with them, he (Mark Bowen) was talking to me. He’s a really nice guy.

Obviously it was hard moving away because I was still in high school, I was still a young guy; I’d just turned 17 when I first arrived but the club made everything easy. It was a big decision but I was always going to make that decision.

I miss my friends but I’m very focused on football and its starting to pay off a lot more now: I’m playing games, scoring goals and now I’ve been training with the u23s for the last two weeks.

I feel like a lot of them (other Reading players), when I first came, were quite sceptical because I wasn’t really comfortable with them and I’d come from another country, but over the past five months I’ve been really close with Claudio Rosario and Nelson Abbey.

How does the Reading academy compare to that of your previous team, New York City FC?

For me it’s so much better because in America, football is just a hobby but here it’s a lifestyle. I just play football, I go to school once a week and then it’s football for the rest of the week and I’ve developed so much more.

My focus is just on football and I feel like I’m able to get so much more out of the day football-wise, it’s very helpful.

Was there more than one club that came in for you when Reading did and how did the move come about?

Not really, I wasn’t very mainstream and I wasn’t the highest profile player. So, I played against Reading with New York City FC in March and Matt Miazga and I have the same representation, and although we didn’t at the time, they took interest in me.

They told Reading to watch out for me, to see if they liked me and they did. At the end of the season, I came on trial here and they liked me so they signed me.

Finally, and on a more casual note, Augustus do you think your name is as awesome as everybody else does?

Ahh man, yeah its unique! I do love it because I was named after my Portuguese grandfather; my mum is from Portugal - born and raised, so I’m half Portuguese. She moved to America to make a better life for her and her family. Then there is my dad who is Irish, hence the last name McGiff.

America is everybody, you know? It’s not just one particular race, in America you can literally be anyone. They met, they got married and I was the only one in my family with that Portuguese name.