From Reading FC Academy to Premier LeagueBy Adam Lee
June 12, 2012
Hal Robson-Kanu believes that Reading’s Academy graduates owe a debt of gratitude to boss Brian McDermott.
Robson-Kanu, along with Alex Pearce and Simon Church, have made their names as first-team regulars under the tenureship of McDermott.
And because the manager, who joined Madejski Stadium as chief scout in September 2000, has been ever-present throughout their development at the club, the winger admits the success Reading have achieved in the past season has been made all the more memorable.
Church, Pearce and Jem Karacan were all given a chance in the Reading first team under Steve Coppell and later Brendan Rodgers.
But, along with Robson-Kanu, it was under McDermott that the quartet really began to shine.
And Robson-Kanu believes they are indebted to him as they can now officially class themselves as Premier League players.
“Having been at the club for such a long time, it makes it extra special to be gracing the Premier League,” he said.
“And the guys like Alex Pearce, Jem Karacan and Simon Church, who have all become established players at the club – I know they can’t wait as well.
“Brian McDermott has played such a big part in bringing us through and we want to repay him for that.
“The manager and his staff have created a nice environment at the club and we have slotted into that, so to go forward as a club and to have the success we have had under Brian McDermott has made it extra special.”
Last week, Robson Kanu returned from the USA were he and Church both played in Wales’ 2-0 defeat at the hands of Mexico.
That appearance for Chris Coleman’s side was his seventh cap for his country, and with Wales soon to begin their qualification campaign for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, that figure is sure to rise.
And the 23-year-old, who made 38 appearances for Reading last year, scoring four goals, believes his international experience will hold him in good stead for the coming Premier League campaign.
“We do have players with Premier League experience, but some of the younger players in the squad won’t have that experience,” he said.
“Having played at international level, I have played alongside players of Premier League class and I’m more than confident that the players we have will come through and show they are capable.
“I think when I’m given my chance I’ll show, as I have always done, just what I am capable of and I’m very hungry to succeed.
“I’m an adaptable player and can play on the right wing, the left wing, up front or just behind a main striker.
“But I’m just looking forward to getting out there and playing next season.”
Back in October, Robson-Kanu revealed he would welcome a chance to represent a Great Britain football team in the 2012 Olympics.
However, despite meeting the Olympic eligibility for the majority of the squad to be aged 23 or under, the Royals star has been overlooked in Stuart Pearce’s preliminary 35-man squad for the London games.
“My main focus was always to concentrate on Reading,” he said.
“I didn’t want to officially put my name forward and I think Stuart Pearce already has his players in mind.
“I’m sure Great Britain will do well and you always aim to be involved in these things, but it’s not a disappointment for me.
“I was delighted with what I achieved at Reading this year and my international focus is with Wales.”