Sam Hutchinson has today put pen to paper on a two-year deal with the Royals.
This, put simply, is a decent piece of business for Reading. Arriving on trial in the latter part of June, he impressed greatly with his no-nonsense tackling and marshalling of the defence (particularly in the second half once he shifted from a low-lying DM to a traditional CB role) against Portuguese side Benfica in a 4-3-3 set up last week.
Other trialists from the game didn’t make it through to the next round and were ejected from the island (sort of mixed up BGT with Love Island, there…) but Hutch was given another go against West Ham United and once again made an impression in what was a three-man defence.
Against the Hammers, he was sat in the middle of the two Toms (sounds like a terrible nursery rhyme) and was pretty tremendous I have to say. I was sat right in line with him in the first half and he didn’t stop talking, re-positioning players around him and eliminating the threats of the forward play from the visitors.
His arrival at the SCL marks a return to the Royal County for the Berkshire-born defender. Beginning his career at Chelsea (yuk) he found game time tricky to come by (don’t they all?), spending loan time at Nottingham Forest, Vitesse Arnhem and Sheffield Tuesday before moving to the Owls on a permanent deal in the summer of 2014.
He made a total of 144 appearances during his first stint in Yorkshire before heading to Cyprus to turn out for Pafos. That turned out to be short-lived, heading back to Sheffield once again, adding a further 53 games over two seasons before walking away like Craig David at the end of May.
He joins us at a time when we desperately need defensive reinforcements. The fact he can also play as a defensive midfielder means there are options for him in the starting 11. Personally, I see him slotting into the middle of a three-man defensive line, with the only caveat being that we must balance the left wing back position quickly for that formation to work consistently. If we can’t do that, Hutchinson will be more than capable of playing in a back four as a regular starter.
All in all, decent business from the club to snap up a free agent who I’d imagine was looked at by other clubs in our position too.
Welcome back to Berkshire, Sam.