McDermott praises ever improving PearceBy Jonny Fordham
December 03, 2010
Alex Pearce is fast becoming a fans’ favourite at Reading with his no-nonsense displays in the heart of defence, much to the delight of Brian McDermott.
Manager McDermott singled out the 21-year-old centre-back for praise after he helped Royals register their sixth clean sheet of the season against Leeds United last weekend in a 0-0 draw.
And the former chief scout admitted that he never doubted the Academy graduate’s ability and strength of character after dropping him in favour of Matt Mills for previous games.
McDermott said: “In the last two games he’s come in and has done really well. He’s one of our own so I'm delighted for him.
“He’s got great character and he is still very young as far as being a centre-back. He’s still learning and he’s played a lot of games for someone so young.
“We’ve got four very good centre-backs here and he’s getting better all the time. I think the fans have now started to take to him as well.”
Under former boss Brendan Rodgers Pearce was named as vice-captain to skipper Ivar Ingimarsson, but McDermott would rather his protégé focus on developing his game rather than pile him with any added responsibilities.
“Alex was skipper this time last season and in hindsight, maybe it was too early for him to be skipper,” he admitted.
“There was a lot of expectation laid upon him. I’ve known Alex since he was 14-years-old and one thing I will do is do right by him, his career and this club.”
There is no doubt that the former Oratory school pupil has all the makings as a future Royals skipper.
However, for now McDermott is happy to watch him grow and develop as a player along with several other Academy stars in his first-team squad.
He added: “I remember four or five years ago we talked about not having Academy players in the team.
“We’ve now got numerous Academy players in and around our team and squad. So for our Academy that is real progress as well.”