This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Reading are set to be in for an interesting summer ahead, with the Royals potentially planning for life back in the Premier League.
The Berkshire-based side are currently sat fifth in the Championship table, and will fancy their chances of building on an impressive recent run of results in the second-tier.
Veljko Paunovic’s side are just six points adrift of the automatic promotion places, and take on struggling Nottingham Forest in their next match.
A number of players are out-of-contract at the end of this year’s campaign, and the club will be looking to tie them down to new deals at the earliest of opportunities.
One of those is Tom McIntyre, with the defender and Reading fan out-of-contract at the end of this year’s campaign. The 22-year-old has made 26 appearances in all competitions for the Royals this term, and has played a key role in their bid for promotion into the Premier League this term.
But should Reading be worried about losing McIntyre in the summer with his contract due to expire in the coming months?
100% – It needs to be a priority.
McIntyre has been exceptional this season for the Royals and notably stepped up expertly in Liam Moore’s recent absence from the team.
Paunovic has started to utilise the 22-year-old in a defensive midfield role here and there, and he was deployed there against Sheffield Wednesday with great effect.
He’s excellent on the ball, really intelligent with his decision making, versatile, and perhaps more importantly than anything, he’s a Reading boy through and through.
He’s been a fan of the club his whole life and has rose up through the academy into a really proficient Championship footballer, and is now a player that Reading need to be keeping around.
The fans love him. Ultimately he has all the makings of being a future Royals captain.
Yes, they should be very worried!
Having come through the ranks as a kid, McIntyre obviously loves the club, but the Royals have still left themselves in a risky position.
With the transfer market tightening up, clubs will be on the lookout for bargains, and picking up a versatile youngster like McIntyre is going to appeal to plenty out there. The 22-year-old has improved significantly this season, and he has looked comfortable in a few positions.
Obviously, he still has aspects to improve, but he could potentially become a very good player. So, you’d have to question why Reading have let themselves get into this situation, and they will be hoping that McIntyre doesn’t join Omar Richards in deciding his future lies elsewhere.
Was it Ovie Ejaria or Michael Olise that did these things?
I’d say it should be a concern for Reading that Tom McIntyre is seeing his contract run down at the moment, and the defender has proven himself to be well worthy of having his time at the club extended.
The 22-year-old is maturing into an important part of the squad so it would potentially be a mistake to let him leave now.
McIntyre has performed well on nearly all the occasions he has been asked to come into the starting line-up this term and he seems to have the trust of Veljko Paunović. However, the issue is there are players ahead of him in the starting line-up when everyone is fit that will be very difficult for him to dislodge.
The defender therefore might consider whether the time is right for him to move on to a different club where he might be able to command a starting role on a more regular basis. On a potential free transfer he could well be a bargain for any club that want to take a look at him.
Reading should be doing what they can to tie him down to a new deal and then if he has not played as much of a part of things as he would like next term, then they could consider selling him down the line to another club. They should not be allowing him to leave for nothing though.