Yesterday, we looked at where five of Reading’s brightest youngsters might be in five years’ time - as we did back in 2015. Today we’re moving onto four more academy players, this time in the midfield and up front: Andy Rinomhota, Michael Olise, Sam Smith and Danny Loader.
Marc Mayo: High Championship
Predicting Rinomhota’s career in five years takes into account the fact he’ll be 27 - aka at his ‘peak’. As something of a late bloomer, his best hopes of reaching the Premier League will be via promotion and I imagine he may even become something of an Oli Norwood type, often traded back down if his team reaches the top.
Jamie Wykes: Mid Premier League
Player of the season in his debut first-team season and he didn’t even start it in the then-manager’s plans. Energetic, a tough tackler and capable of a pass, if Rinomhota keeps improving at the rate he has been, he’ll certainly be playing in the Premier League. Despite a slow start to the season, it’s slightly baffling to see how many times he’s sat on the bench this campaign. Along with Tom McIntyre, he could and should be the future of this club.
Adam Jones: Lower Premier League
From AFC Porchester to the Championship, Rinomhota has done very well for himself. He impressed immediately when he started playing in the first team and won player of the season in the last campaign. Although the impressive performances of Pele have kept him out of the side for parts of this season, he’s come back into the fold with a point to prove. Regrettably, I have visions of him being in a Leeds United side in the future for some reason. Let’s hope he stays.
Olly Allen: Premier League
Easily the player I’m most excited about on this list. The way that Olise glides around the pitch and has the ability to control games at such a young age is remarkable, and I’m surprised more hasn’t been made of his talent outside of RG2. Not that I care, as the longer Reading can hold on to him for, the better. If Olise improves the physical side of his game then his career trajectory will surely see him playing in the top flight.
Daniel Wimbush: Premier League
My last set of crystal ball predictions showed how tricky it can be turning potential and promise into consistency at the top level and unlike Tariqe Fosu and Aaron Kuhl, I hope Olise can live up to the hype. From what I have seen, I’m very excited about what’s to come. He looks someone who’s comfortable at this level, despite his inexperience. The only thing that might hold him back is the lack of a clear best position right now.
Adam Jones: Lower Premier League
I think his progress will very much depend on the amount of time he gets on the pitch over the next few seasons. If he can keep his place in the matchday squad, he could become a real force for the Royals. The sky is the limit for the Frenchman, although my suspicion is that he may be kept on the bench for the likes of Ejaria, Swift and Rinomhota. Because of this, I think he’ll only be competing at the lower end of the Premier League.
Olly Allen: League Two
There’s no doubting that Smith has done well on loan at Cambridge this season, but I can’t help but feel that he’s found his level. His last appearance for Reading was in April 2018, and I can’t say I was ever particularly excited by what I saw from him. Maybe he’s come on since then, but with George Puscas, Lucas Joao, Sam Baldock and Yakou Meite all likely to still be at the club next season, the last year of Smith’s contract, his ship may have sailed in Berkshire.
Jamie Wykes: Lower Championship
There are a few ways this one can go. With a couple of loan spells already under his belt, the young forward will either be continually shipped out on loan until a lower-league club snap him up or a low-to-mid-table Championship club (including Reading) take a punt on him. It’s easy to see him become a prolific lower-league striker, but whether he has what it takes to be a Championship player remains to be seen.
Adam Jones: League One
With the likes of George Pucas and Lucas Joao in front of him, I think his time at Reading is up. He showed promise in academy games, but he’s not done a lot at the Madejski Stadium since. You always hope that every academy player makes it, but making the step up to the Championship might be too much for Smith. Let’s hope he can prove me wrong.
Marc Mayo: League One
Danny Loader is great at under-23s level but appears to be out of his depth versus almost every senior team we have seen him face. Making that jump will require him to not only improve physically but also in his positioning and decision making. In five years’ time he may well be on a Premier League club’s books - but he’ll be out on loan.
Olly Allen: Championship
It’s easy to forget that Loader is still only 19 because he came into supporters’ consciences at such a young age. For that reason I tend to cut him a lot more slack than most fans as an awful amount of hype was placed on him and he’s still not finished developing as a player. I do feel Loader is almost certain to leave Reading when his contract ends this summer, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a bottom-half Premier League team take a punt on him. I agree with Marc in the sense that come 2025 he’ll be back in the Championship either on loan or permanently.
Adam Jones: Higher Championship
When he first emerged, we all thought Loader was going to be the real deal. He seems to have struggled to settle into senior football, although he could become a real threat very quickly if he can adapt. This makes the prediction of where he will end up very difficult. I can see him being like Dwight Gayle: too good for the Championship but failing to make a major impact in the top flight.