With the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 fast approaching, fans’ heads will be turning towards the tournament and away from domestic football. Disrupting the usually busy winter schedule of European football to accommodate Qatar, the Championship will be put on hold while the spectacle commences.
For Reading fans this should be a chance to support some of their players who will hopefully be plying their trade at the tournament. Both Andy Yiadom and Abdul Rahman Baba will be hoping to play in defence for Ghana while Junior Hoilett should be representing Canada and Mamadou Loum is on the plane for Senegal. With England expected to reach the final, Reading fans should find it exciting to keep a close eye on these other nations too.
Mamadou Loum (Senegal)
Joining the Royals on loan from Porto for the season after an impressive stint in Spain with Alaves in 2021/22, Loum has made it into Senegal’s 26-man squad. Coach Aliou Cisse has a settled XI heading into Qatar but is a bit short in central midfield so Loum needed to impress to make his way into the squad, just as he did as Senegal marched to victory in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.
A box-to-box midfielder who has had some standout performances for Reading so far, such as the 3-0 home win vs Blackburn Rovers in August, Loum is now off to Qatar. Fans of Senegal will demand success after the Africa Cup of Nations victory. With just three caps for Senegal so far, the midfielder will hope he’s impressed enough for Reading in the run-in to the World Cup to feature in Qatar.
Andy Yiadom (Ghana)
With an impressive 24 appearances to his name for his national side so far, Yiadom will be hungry for his first taste of World Cup action. Having played a pivotal role in Reading’s defence so far this season, Ghana boss Otto Addo will want the defender to have the same impact for his side.
Reading’s defensive stalwart and captain, Yiadom will want to make a good impression for the Black Stars in Qatar. Having played in all three group games at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations at right back he will be expecting to start once again.
Having finished bottom of their group in the Africa Cup of Nations, fans will demand a better time out in November. With a tough first game against the Cristiano Ronaldo-inspired Portuguese, Yiadom will need to be at the top of his game to carve out a result on November 24.
Abdul Rahman Baba (Ghana)
Rejoining Reading ahead of the 2022/23 season, Baba will be hoping he is match fit for the World Cup after having various injury issues since joining the Royals. With 44 international caps for the Chelsea man since 2014, the wing back will want to add to that tally in Qatar.
A versatile player for both club and country, Addo prefers Baba in a left-back berth opposite Reading team mate Yiadom where his ball-running capabilities are most needed. However, when called upon Baba is equally comfortable playing on either wing due to his energy and speed.
With Portugal, Uruguay and Korea Republic in their group, Ghana will find the going tough. Nonetheless, if the team is well prepared they should not be written off and will have aspirations of the knockout stages like at the 2010 World Cup. Expect Baba to play an important role.
Junior Hoilett (Canada)
A Reading fans’ favourite due to his honesty and never-say-die attitude, the same applies for his national team. Canada will be participating in their first World Cup since 1986 and Hoilett made a large contribution to this success, having scored in the all-important 4-0 victory over Jamaica in Toronto to officially send the Canucks to the World Cup. With 14 national team goals, Hoilett has been a stalwart in the Canada squad since making his debut in 2015.
Canada love to play a gung-ho system with an emphasis on the wide players and this has suited Hoilett’s style of play. Whether playing on the left or right wing, Hoilett has a knack for getting past players in the seemingly impossible situations and as an outlet like this, he could be extremely valuable for John Herdman and his squad at the World Cup.
Reading manager Paul Ince will want a quick return for Hoilett after the World Cup as he has been a key cog in Reading’s team this season when going forward out wide.
With usually such a busy winter schedule, this season will be a different sensation for the Reading faithful. However, with some players looking like they will be making an appearance at the World Cup, these prove to be fascinating times. After such a strong start to the season by Paul Ince’s side, the fans will hope the players will be ready to return to see off a good season for the Royals after a relegation scrap last season.