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Vote For Your 2021/22 Reading Player Of The Season

Four of our writers have made the case for their chosen candidate, but who gets your vote?

Reading v Birmingham City - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Lucas Joao

  • Appearances: 24
  • Goals: 10 (second highest)
  • Assists: 3 (joint third)
  • TTE average rating: 5.6/10
  • TTE man of the match awards: 2
  • TTE player of the month awards: 1

Even though Lucas played in the opening two league games in the season, his campaign only truly got going in January when he returned from his hip injury - and virtually straight from the off he showed exactly what we’d been missing in his absence and just how important he is to the team.

We are blessed to have him in our ranks, we really are. He’s a player who consistently gets labels such as ‘lazy’ and ‘bad attitude’ thrown at him (sometimes fairly, sometimes not so fairly) but, for me, all of that can be forgotten about when he scores the amount of goals he does.

Reading v Swansea City - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Alex Burstow/Getty Images

I think football fans can be guilty of always wanting more, and that’s no different with Reading fans and Lucas Joao. For sure, I’ve been guilty of it before - the bloke has so much quality so it can be frustrating when he doesn’t show it often enough. But, at the end of the day, we arguably wouldn’t have survived without him and, in my opinion, we wouldn’t have been in the position we were in to start with if he was fit and available for the whole season.

At this level, there are few better strikers than Lucas and he’s shown since January why he deserves to be in the running for POTS.

Harry Chafer

Josh Laurent

  • Appearances: 42 (highest)
  • Goals: 2
  • Assists: 4 (second highest)
  • TTE average rating: 5.5/10
  • TTE man of the match awards: 2
  • TTE player of the month awards: 0

If Reading want any hope going into a summer when they will be reliant on Mark Bowen bringing in free transfers, they need look no further than Josh Laurent. The midfielder was the Welshman’s sole signing in the summer of 2020 before he was dispensed of as manager and he has arguably been the team’s best performer in the last two years.

Laurent won the player-of-the-season award last year and it’s right to say he hasn’t been quite as good in 2021/22, but then again neither have Reading as a team. He made the most appearances throughout the campaign, quite the feat when many of his teammates were spending months on end on the treatment table.

Sometimes all you ask for as fans is a player who fights for every ball and shows pride in playing for the club. Laurent does that, going about his work with a level of ease and professionalism I haven’t seen from many other players in a Reading shirt. His passion is unrivalled in the current squad and will be sorely missed if he departs this summer.

Sheffield United v Reading - Sky Bet Championship - Bramall Lane Photo by Zac Goodwin/PA Images via Getty Images

The 27-year-old expertly filled in at centre-back in early parts of the season and helped achieve a first clean sheet against Middlesbrough, before coming into his own in the number 10 position towards the end of the campaign. Name me anyone else who can fulfill both of those roles so competently and I’ll call you a liar.

Laurent’s two goals this year also came at crucial moments – a stunning looping effort from the edge of the box that proved to be the matchwinner against Blackburn Rovers in March and then an equaliser to earn a point against relegation rivals Barnsley a fortnight later. For this reason and many others, we wouldn’t have stayed up without him.

Olly Allen

John Swift

  • Appearances: 38
  • Goals: 11
  • Assists: 13
  • TTE average rating: 5.9/10
  • TTE man of the match awards: 3
  • TTE player of the month awards: 1

John Swift. Super John Swift. First, the facts (I can deal in facts you know)…

38 matches (his third-highest tally since joining us in 2016

11 goals (highest since joining)

13 assists (highest since joining)

Fresh trim at the start of the season (best one he’s had since joining)

Buzz-cut John Swift is definitely my favourite. He had the kind of season we were desperate for him to have over the five prior to this one. His contribution, certainly pre-Christmas, kept us in the league, no doubt about it. In the absence of talisman Lucas Joao, Swift kept the goals flowing and endeavoured to play “glossy” football when those around him tended to stick to the basics.

Stoke City v Reading - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Ashley Allen/Getty Images

Am I picking Swift for the player he has become? Am I picking him so that if he’s reading this, he stays (lols)? Am I choosing him because of his ability to win us games this season? All of the above, if I’m honest. A Reading team is a better team with John Swift in it, that’s bare facts right there.

It’s highly likely he will leave this summer. The club have mentioned they are in “negotiations” with him but that’s a smokescreen. My only regret is that we didn’t get a chance to see Prime John Swift and Prime Lucas Joao play together consistently and regularly. I really feel that would have been a tremendous display of footballing prowess.

John Swift: Reading FC’s player of the season.

Ben Thomas

Andy Yiadom

  • Appearances: 38
  • Goals: 1
  • Assists: 2
  • TTE average rating: 6.3/10 (highest of anyone with 20+ appearances)
  • TTE man of the match awards: 5 (second highest)
  • TTE player of the month awards: 1

The Ghanaian’s importance to the Royals was reinforced in January when he was at the Africa Cup of Nations. Some would argue the inexperience of Tyrell Ashcroft and Dejan Tetek played a part in that, but he would have been missed regardless, proving to be a good match for most Championship wingers.

It almost feels absurd nominating a defender for the POTS award considering we had the joint-worst defensive record in the Championship this term, but that’s no reflection of the 30-year-old’s performances, being reasonably competent defensively and going forward.

Birmingham City v Reading - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

That’s the best thing about Yiadom: he really is the full package and he arguably deserved more than the one goal and two assists he registered during the 2021/22 campaign.

His contribution for the second goal at Birmingham City is a case in point, dispossessing Jeremie Bela, charging forward and doing extremely well to lay the ball off to John Swift.

Getting him tied down to a new contract should be a top priority at the Select Car Leasing Stadium in the coming days and weeks, establishing himself as one of the better full-backs in the division and is no doubt a big leader in the dressing room as ex-captain of Barnsley. It would be a major blow if we were to lose him.

Adam Jones

Honourable mentions

If we’d been basing this on the first half of the season, a couple more players would have been in contention. Luke Southwood had a good 2021, winning a glut of MOTM and POTM awards, ultimately ending the season with more of both than anyone else in the squad. However, although he did well in his own right (his average rating was the second highest), it was often a case of him being the best of bad bunch, shown by him winning MOTM in poor defeats to Swansea City (League Cup), Blackpool (A), West Brom (A) and QPR (A).

Similarly, Scott Dann was on track to be part of the shortlist, with an average rating of 6.3/10 that was on par with Andy Yiadom. It’s a shame that he only managed 18 appearances.

Otherwise, the only players to pick up a POTM win but not get on the shortlist were Tom Holmes (December) and Tom McIntyre (April/May). Andy Rinomhota took the third-highest number of MOTM awards (four), with Holmes joint-fourth (three).


Those are your candidates, now you can have your say in the poll below. We’d like to rank the four players - one is the highest, four is the lowest. If the poll doesn’t display on your device, you can find it at this link.