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3 reasons why Reading FC may be wise to cash in on 24 y/o after exit report



Championship side Reading have told Luke Southwood to find a new club ahead of the summer window, according to a report from Football Insider.

The 24-year-old, who graduated through the Royals’ academy, has had to bide his time at the Select Car Leasing Stadium before finally getting an extended first-team opportunity to shine between the sticks.

Initially starting the 2021/22 campaign behind Rafael Cabral in the pecking order, an injury to the Brazilian in September allowed the academy graduate to come in and proved to be impressive at first.

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Where did the club finish in 2021/22?

However, a string of errors from December persuaded former boss Veljko Paunovic to move for Arsenal shot-stopper Karl Hein during the winter window and though the Estonian only played a few games before picking up a season-ending injury, Orjan Nyland arrived in March as the 20-year-old’s replacement.

That limited Southwood’s involvement during the second half of the season, though Nyland’s departure at the end of the campaign potentially provided the Northern Ireland international that he would return between the sticks from next season.

It now looks as though officials in Berkshire want to sever ties with the 24-year-old – and we discuss three reasons why they may be wise to cash in on the shot-stopper in the summer.

His contract expires in 2023

Although Southwood is one of few Reading players whose contract doesn’t expire this summer, his deal comes to an end in 2023 and they face the prospect of losing the goalkeeper for free next summer because of that.

Two scenarios could happen for that to occur. The first scenario is a more positive one for the 24-year-old, with Southwood possibly impressing next season and earning himself a move to a bigger club with the Royals unlikely to be anywhere near the promotion mix during 2022/23.

Or he may be deemed surplus to requirements next year – but at that point – it will be too late to generate any sort of fee for his services and he ends up departing for nothing.

Considering how many players have left Berkshire for nothing in recent years, the second-tier side will be keen not to lose another player on a free transfer.

Andresson and Boyce-Clarke could flourish

If a new first-choice shot-stopper was to come in and Southwood remained at the club, it would block Jokull Andresson and Coniah Boyce-Clarke’s path to the first team and that would be a shame considering how promising the duo are.

Icelander Andresson may not have plied his trade in the second tier before – but is loved by Exeter City fans following his spells there and earned some experience with Morecambe earlier this term.

That could make him a suitable backup option for a new number one this summer – and if he needs to come in – he at least has some EFL experience behind him and that can only aid him.

In terms of Boyce-Clarke, he has represented England at a youth international level and was once linked with Manchester United, so the second-tier side’s supporters will be keen to see what all the fuss is about.

Addressing the balance between youth and experience

Southwood may be 24 – but he only managed to secure his first English second-tier appearance during 2021/22 and doesn’t even have a full season of football in the division under his belt with Rafael, Hein and Nyland also appearing between the sticks for the Royals.

This makes him a very inexperienced figure and with Andresson and Boyce-Clarke yet to appear in a competitive fixture for the Paul Ince’s side, they need an injection of experience to provide them with reliability.

Having that experienced head will also give the younger keepers at the Select Car Leasing Stadium someone to learn from – and that can only be a real benefit for the future.

This is why some were surprised to see Nyland released by the Berkshire side, though they can use the free agent and loan markets to recruit a solid replacement.

Recruiting an older goalkeeper and offloading Southwood could allow the club to strike the ideal balance between youth and experience.

A 21-year-old Reading FC fan and writer who graduated from the University for the Creative Arts in the summer with a degree in Journalism and Media Production. Other topics written about include politics, mental health and education.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: 3 reasons why Reading FC may be wise to cash in on 24 y/o after exit report

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