Former Reading goalkeeper Emi Martinez has sent a message of support to the club’s new shot-stopper Joao Virginia after his season-long loan deal at the Madejski from Everton was confirmed on Thursday.
Martinez spent the second-half of last season on loan with the Royals, becoming a firm fan favourite in his time, and knows Virginia from the youngster’s brief spell with Arsenal.
Taking to Twitter after the deal was announced, the 19-year-old said: “Delighted to join @readingfc on loan. It’s an honor to become part of such a historical club. Thank you for the confidence, Royals!”
And Martinez was quick to respond, replying in Spanish and roughly translating as: “Good luck, great club, enjoy your challenge.”
It is the first time the Portuguese has been sent out on loan after graduating through the Benfica youth system before moving to Arsenal and then finally to Goodison Park.
Although he is yet to break into the Everton first-team, he has regularly impressed in the under-23 ranks, playing a crucial role as they lifted the Premier League 2 title and Under-23 cup last season.
He has now flown out to Malaga in order to link-up with the rest of the Royals’ squad for their pre-season training camp.
It is a shame for Reading fans that they have been unable to tempt Martinez back to the club after his successful spell last season.
He quickly brought into what the Royals were about and was a consistently solid presence in goal. But, given the goalkeeping situation at Arsenal, it is not too big a surprise.
Virginia, however, looks like he will arrive with much the same attitude as his former Arsenal colleague which will stand him in very good stead for the duration of the season.