Watson, 24, graduated through the Royals’ academy and initially showed promise at the Select Car Leasing Stadium, performing well for the Berkshire side in a Carabao Cup tie away at Arsenal in the 2016/17 season and continuing to shine in cameos when he was given the opportunity by then-manager Jaap Stam.
However, the signing of Andy Yiadom in 2018 changed the game for the academy graduate who found himself as third-choice right-back behind the Ghanaian and Welsh international Chris Gunter.
Quiz: What was the score the last time Reading FC played at each of these 24 stadiums?
And the fact Gunter had a knack of avoiding injuries even throughout gruelling Championship campaigns only went on to harm his first-team chances further before the 32-year-old’s departure last summer.
After going out on loan spells at AFC Wimbledon and Coventry City between 2018 and 2020, Watson returned to Reading under then-new boss Veljko Paunovic and potentially had the opportunity to shine in the Championship against after injuries to Yiadom and Felipe Araruna in the first three games of the last campaign.
However, fellow academy graduate and natural centre-back Tom Holmes was preferred to the 24-year-old at right-back, effectively bringing the curtain down on Watson’s long stay in Berkshire.
He was released by the Royals in the summer and in a parting message to Reading fans on Twitter after joining MK Dons, he said: “Thank you to everyone at Reading for my last eight years. A place that I will always hold dear to me. I am grateful for the opportunities the club has given to me, and all the great memories created on the way.
“I am extremely grateful for the support over the years and want to give a special thanks to the fans and staff. I’ve been lucky enough to meet some amazing people!
“Mehmet Ali, Eamonn Dolan, David Dodds, Steve Cottrell, Ollie Harrington, are just a few on the list whom I’m thankful to have met and been guided by, who made my journey special.
“Thank you and I wish the club the very best in the future.”
This is a classy message from a player who drew the short straw at Reading by having two international right-backs ahead of him in the pecking order.
He looked promising when he first broke into the Royals’ first team, but his lack of playing time in Berkshire harmed his development and because of this, you have to say the club are at fault for it.
Arguably, the club didn’t need both Yiadom and Gunter as options in the Championship – one would have easily sufficed with Watson as their backup.
But now the 24-year-old finally has his permanent move, he is likely to settle down well and perform well for a side who will be aiming for a place in the play-offs next season under Russell Martin.
This will be a tall order though, with several teams in the third tier all vying for a spot in the top six. The former Reading full-back will be hoping to utilise his limited amount of Championship experience to get them there.