Reading midfielder Dejan Tetek was given an unexpected start by Veljko Paunovic in this afternoon’s 1-0 victory over Middlesbrough, coming in at right-back for Andy Yiadom who converted into a more central role in the absence of Michael Morrison and Tom Holmes.
With the centre-back duo out and 17-year-old Michael Stickland as the Royals’ next option at the heart of defence, Jeriel Dorsett out on loan at Rochdale and summer signing Scott Dann not yet fit to be involved, Serbian youth international Tetek was tasked with playing in this role.
Though the 19-year-old already started his first Championship game for the Berkshire outfit, operating in his more natural position in central midfield away at Norwich City in the latter stages of last season, this was a completely new task for the teenager in a makeshift position and up against Middlesbrough’s ‘player of the season’ so far in Isiah Jones, he was given a stiff test against a physical Neil Warnock side.
Quiz: Have Reading FC ever been involved in these 18 scenarios?
This was largely due to Felipe Araruna’s absence after starting the 2020/21 campaign as Yiadom’s understudy – but the Brazilian has failed to keep himself fit and has missed every minute of this season so far.
His loss was Tetek’s gain, who has established himself as a first-team player since the beginning of last term, emerging as a potential option under former boss Mark Bowen and asserting his place in and around the senior squad with fellow countryman Veljko Paunovic.
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Today was another major breakthrough for the 19-year-old despite his injury near the end – and was part of a defence that kept their first clean sheet this season after ten competitive games. But is that a reflection of Tetek’s performance?
This is how a selection of Reading fans reacted to his performance on Twitter after the game.
Great team performance but Tetek probably my MoTM 👏🏻 #readingfc
— Persandwichman (@persandwichman) September 25, 2021
— Jack (@Jack_rfc6) September 25, 2021
What a win! Great performance from every player. Swift brilliant again. Tetek very good at right-back aswell #readingfc
— Lewis Radbourne (@lewisradbourne1) September 25, 2021
Massive win that. Defence were class. Tetek and Halilovic really stood out 👌🏻 #readingfc
— Jacob Potter (@pott95) September 25, 2021
Tetek phenomenal today out of position #ReadingFC
— Erik O (@Orrgarde) September 25, 2021
Tetek today 👏 #readingfc
— . (@Jacobhdgs) September 25, 2021
Dejan Tetek. That’s the tweet.
Identical to Jem Karacan. A workhorse who leaves everything out there. An unreal performance well out of position at RB. Such a shame he’s joined our list of casualties. Looks a real talent. #readingfc
— Ed Ryding (@EdRyding) September 25, 2021
No centre backs, no centre forward, three points- get in there! Massive performance, Tetek fantastic, Yiadom and Laurent solid, midfield quality. #readingfc
— Melvir (@Melvir88) September 25, 2021