Chelsea midfielder Danny Drinkwater made his debut for loan club Reading in an unexpected fashion at Craven Cottage yesterday afternoon, coming in for the injured centre-back Tom Holmes in the 20th minute.
It would be Josh Laurent who would fill in at centre-back in the absence of any fit senior central defenders. That came after Veljko Paunovic opted against utilising academy graduate Michael Stickland as a more natural option at the heart of defence against Fulham, as Liam Moore, Tom McIntyre and Scott Dann remain out of action.
This allowed Drinkwater to take his place alongside Watford loanee Tom Dele-Bashiru for his debut – and managed to make it through the remainder of the game despite this being his first appearance on the bench for the Royals.
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The 31-year-old initially arrived at the Select Car Leasing Stadium at the end of August, but missed the Berkshire outfit’s recent games against Queens Park Rangers and Peterborough United, as he looks to revive his career after being left out in the cold at Stamford Bridge.
He joined the Premier League giants back in 2017 for a reported £35m fee, but will need to show Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel why he deserves a place back in the first-team squad in west London during his time in the Championship.
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But did he get off to a good start at Craven Cottage? We take a look at how a selection of Reading fans reacted to his first appearance in the club’s colours on Twitter, following an impressive 2-1 win.
Solid debut from Drinkwater, Halilovic is magic, good shift from Hoilett up top, Swift is the goat as usual but Ovie the difference, great to see him at his imperious best #readingfc
— Nick Houlton (@Houlton11) September 18, 2021
Danny Drinkwater – when he came on he calmed everyone down and kept things simple. Was always chatting to the back 4 TDB, swifty and the rest. Screened the defence excellently too. Can tell the wealth of experience he has is much needed. Will only improve 👌👏 #readingfc
— Dean Bennett (@DeanBennett1993) September 18, 2021
Filled in as an extra head in cb when crosses were flying in as well. Was the one trying to get our players to stop just gunning up the pitch for another goal and to just hold the ball also. Was very good
— Tim Adcock (@T123Adcock) September 18, 2021
🙌 Thought Drinkwater looked really intelligent and disciplined when he came on.
— RFC Latest (@RFCLatest) September 19, 2021
Like Drinkwater, really Intelligent and disciplined as you’d expect, he’ll only get better as he gets fitter. Laurent fantastic. Southwood unreal. Didn’t miss Captain fantastic… #readingfc
— Jordan Norris (@Jordo1871) September 18, 2021
First time I watched #readingfc this season. Attack looks much more fluent now without olise and with drinkwater. I agree centre backs don’t look good. Not 100% convinced by baba although he defended well. League looks awful this season so should be no problem making play offs.
— Musa Nazir (@MNazirNewEra) September 18, 2021
— CM (@ronniemac93) September 18, 2021
I thought he was well off it. All of his passes were simple and easy and he done well with those. However he got beat every time with ease. He made it too easy for them to pass him. Could come in a bit of game time but he needs to improve the defensive aspect of his game.
— 🐝🔑 (@steel_beake) September 18, 2021