This season was hardly a stellar one for Reading, ending in relegation to the third tier. Still, some players stood out more than others, and it’s only right we mark that with our Player of the Season award. Below, we’ve assembled a four-man shortlist, provided some stats for each (including TTE man of the match and player of the month awards) and made the case for why they should win.
Tom Ince has already taken the club’s POTS award as voted for by the fans, while Joe Lumley took the accompanying players’ POTS award, with both given out at the recent gala dinner. Both make our shortlist, but will either win this award outright?
Interestingly, and a tad ominously for Ince, there’s been a trend of the club’s POTS winner differing from ours - a trend which extends to five of the last seven seasons in fact. For example, in 2021/22 John Swift was the TTE POTS while Andy Yiadom took the club’s award. Previous TTE winners are Josh Laurent (2020/21), Rafael Cabral (2019/20), Andy Yiadom (2018/19), Modou Barrow (2017/18), Yann Kermorgant (2016/17) and Oliver Norwood (2015/16). Of those, only Laurent and Rafael took the corresponding club award.
But who takes the TTE 2022/23 award? Read on for your candidates and cast your vote in the poll at the bottom. To add a bit of depth to the process, we’ve let you rank the options from first to fourth rather than just picking one.
32 appearances, 9 goals, 2 assists, 1 POTM, 1 MOTM, TTE average of 5.3
Why he should win: Sure, on the face of it, Carroll’s a bit of a dark horse for this award. His average rating is one of the lowest for any player who played regularly. But it would feel a bit harsh to completely exclude Reading’s joint-top goalscorer in a season when goals were hard to come by.
Contextualise that by the amount of time he spent on the pitch, and he has the best goals-per-90 return of anyone with more than two strikes (0.4). Those goals were ultimately worth eight points for the Royals.
42 appearances, 0 goals, 0 assists, 0 POTM, 3 MOTM, TTE average of 5.8
Why he should win: Holmes has gone from a raw defender in recent years to now being one of the most dependable players in the squad, as shown by him having one of the highest average ratings in the squad of anyone who played more than 40 times in all competitions.
His versatility was impressive too. Holmes started out as a right-sided centre back in a three at the beginning of the season, moved into the middle after an injury to Sam Hutchinson, and later became a right-sided centre back in a four in the latter stages of the campaign. He fulfilled all roles commendably in a solid, effective way.
39 appearances, 9 goals, 5 assists, 4 POTM, 7 MOTM, TTE average of 6.1
Why he should win: Ince is surely the overwhelming favourite for this award. His goal tally of nine is the joint-best in the squad (alongside Carroll), while he comes top outright for assists, player of the month and man of the match awards, and average score in our player ratings.
Although his season tailed off due to injury, Ince was still head and shoulders above the rest of the squad for plenty of the campaign. That was particularly true in the early months of 2022/23, when Ince’s work rate really shone. Reading’s season would surely have gone far worse if we’d not been able to count on Ince as we did.
42 appearances, 0 goals, 1 assist, 0 POTM, 3 MOTM, TTE average of 5.9
Why he should win: Has there ever been a goalkeeper signed with lower expectations? Even Joao Virginia had his fans on day one (not that they’d admit it) compared to a supposedly useless error-prone flop, derided by QPR and Middlesbrough fans alike. Indeed, a hash of a day up at Rotherham United seemed to prove their premonitions to be true.
Yet, Paul Ince backed him and very much rightly so. Lumley absolutely won Reading more points than he lost us, with cat-like reflexes, reasonable aerial command and a full-gutted vigour which wound up away fans as much as it rallied Club 1871. An astute signing who’s arguably saved his career in Berkshire.
To vote for your TTE Player of the Season, please rank the four candidates in our poll below. The poll should display on your device, but if it doesn’t, you can use this link right here.