Congratulations to John Swift, your TTE player of the 2021/22 season. With Andy Yiadom taking the club’s award, the trend of there being a different TTE POTS to the official POTS has continued. That run now extends to five of the last seven seasons.
Going by our ranked voting system, with points awarded for first, second, third and fourth place, Swift (130) came out comfortably ahead of Yiadom (104). Rounding out the shortlist were last season’s winner Josh Laurent (81) and Lucas Joao (75).
In reality, this award was always going to be a two-horse race; Swift and Yiadom were the stand-out candidates. But don’t let that take anything away from Swift’s excellent campaign, which may very well have been the difference between Reading finishing the season as a Championship side or as one relegated to League One.
With the exception of 2019/20, we’ve not really been treated to a healthy campaign from Swift, playing regularly without having to constantly battle injury. This season was in fact only the second time he managed more than 3,000 minutes in all competitions (3,281) - impressive when you consider he was restricted to fewer than 800 in a difficult 2020/21. Only Laurent (3,687) and Yiadom (3,364) managed more in 2021/22.
And Swift added plenty of end product, becoming one of only a few players in the division to reach double figures for both goals (11) and assists (13). That’s comfortably clear of his previous best at Reading (six and 10 in 2019/20) and a pretty outstanding return for a midfielder in a poor team.
John Swift is the first Reading midfielder to ever reach double figures for goals and assists in a Championship season. At times, he’s been unplayable - bringing immense amounts of quality. No doubt Reading would be in League One without his contribution.— Talk Reading (@TalkReading) May 1, 2022
Swifty #readingfc pic.twitter.com/LSU5KLxW9C
The highlight was undoubtedly a hat trick at home to Queens Park Rangers, a performance which clearly demonstrated how unplayable Swift could be. That match came amid a strong first half of the season which featured eight goals and nine assists from his overall tally.
Sure, the second half of the campaign wasn’t as productive, but the three goals and four assists he managed from January onwards would still have been enough to put him joint second in Reading’s goal-contribution chart (behind Joao and level with Tom Dele-Bashiru) if judged over the course of the entire season.
As an individual talent, Swift’s certainly one of the best this club has had in recent years. His close control, passing and intelligence are a cut above the rest, he’s become an increasingly mature player over the years, and even when he’s not on the top of his game, he still has that priceless knack of still being able to come up with a moment of quality. Simply put, he’s the kind of player that opposition teams fear.
The flipside of all this is that he’s proved he’s too good for this level and will surely depart on a free transfer this summer. Whether he moves to the Premier League straightaway or finds a promotion-ready club, Swift’s earned a shot at the top flight. Unfortunately it won’t be with Reading. I fear we’ve taken him for granted somewhat, and I for one will certainly miss him.