Since joining Reading on a season-long loan from Liverpool, midfielder Ovie Ejaria has been one of the standout players for José Gomes’ side.
The youngster spent half of last season in Berkshire, having joined in January until the end of the season. Now, back for a second stint, he looks new and improved as the Royals aim to push on.
What a start it’s been since rejoining late on deadline day. He made his second Royals debut against Cardiff at the Madejski Stadium, and Ejaria showed his unbelievable talent in a 3-0 victory.
Since his arrival, Gomes has changed the system at Reading and the midfielder is now playing in a more advanced central-role rather than out on the left, as he was last season.
This new role seems to have had an effect on the the 21-year-old, who has thrived going forward with his superb dribbling skills, which at the same time has got Royals supporters off their feet.
After his home bow, Ejaria kept his place in the side as Gomes’ squad travelled to one of the promotion favourites, West Brom. His form continued, and after a brilliant bit of footwork, the midfielder rifled home into the top corner from 20-yards out.
It was a stunning strike, which backs up one of his 12 progressive runs so far this season and it was another one of those forward runs that allowed him to tuck home his second of the season against Huddersfield.
Once more he collected the ball and dribbled it towards the box before striking, this time low, past Kamil Grabara in the Huddersfield Town goal.
Despite playing in a central role, he seems to be a vital part in the Royals’ play going forward. He’s made made 28 passes into the final third, which shows he’s never far away from Reading’s attacking options. Now that Gomes plays with two strikers, there is plenty of routes to goal, with Ejaria seemingly benefitting from the runs made by Lucas Joao and George Puscas.
With Gomes seemingly wanting his midfielders to keep the ball, an 86.6% passing accuracy is a fantastic statistic for an attacking part of the midfield. Playing with two wing-backs on either side, it’s vital that when the Royals go forward, they are precise with their passing as any change in possession could result in a dangerous counter-attack for the opposition.
Having played just four matches in the Championship this season, his statistics are already showing a great amount of potential going forward for this Reading team.
With Ejaria forming an early partnership next to another creator in John Swift, there’s no doubt that Reading will be able to create opportunities, it’s just whether the forwards can start firing them up the league.