Reading finally have a new attacking player, and he’s a well-known figure in the Championship. Junior Hoilett, a veteran in English football after spells with Blackburn Rovers, QPR and Cardiff City, joined as a free agent on a one-year deal on Thursday evening.
To find out more about how well he might do in Berkshire, we spoke to a fan of Hoilett’s most recent club - Cardiff - where he spent the last five years of his career. Many thanks to Dan Lewis (@Daniel_Lewis92) for answering our questions.
Give us an overview of Hoilett’s time at Cardiff
Junior had five fantastic seasons with us, playing an important part in our promotion in 2017/18 and then making an impact in the Premier League the following season. He could be frustrating at times - name me a winger who isn’t - but was unanimously popular. Last season was pretty much the first time he’d stopped becoming a regular for us, but even then he chipped in with a couple of goals and assists.
Were Cardiff fans disappointed to see him leave?
Hoilett fell out of favour when Mick McCarthy took over and it was unfortunate that his contract was coming to an end towards the end of last season. Ultimately I think he’s still better than some attackers in our squad and I would have tied him down to another two-year deal, though who is to say that wasn’t the case and he just wanted a new challenge?
How would you describe his style of play? Can he play on both flanks or is he better on one?
Hoilett is predominantly a left winger and that is where he had his best performances for us, but he can also play on the right and just off the striker. He is not one of those players who is in the side for his movement or ability to unsettle defences (which I’ve also considered damning with faint praise) - he is there to be directly involved in goals, whether that’s with assists or finding the net himself.
What are his main strengths and weaknesses?
He is capable of scoring sublime goals from range, can get a good delivery into the box and is a decent ‘out ball’ when looking to move up the field. Given he is now 31 and had some niggling injuries towards the end of last season, plus the fact he still travels to play for Canada during each international break, his playing time may have to be handled carefully.
What’s his character like?
Just look at his Instagram post when announcing his move to Reading. He is very popular with former teammates and supporters at any club he’s been at.
Will he be a success at Reading?
Put it this way, I’d have kept him at Cardiff this season if given the choice. I’m not saying he’s going to score and assist double figures, but he will definitely make an impact if used correctly.