The Wokingham Paper

Ged Roddy believes moving to Bearwood will take Reading FC academy to a new level

Ged Roddy
Ged Roddy says moving to Bearwood will be a step change for Reading's academy

Reading FC academy boss Ged Roddy says moving to the new training ground at Bearwood “will make a huge difference for us”.

The Royals are soon set to move from their current training ground at Hogwood up the road to a new site at Bearwood, with works now well underway.

Roddy excited by latest crop of talented youngsters

Pitches have now been laid with added facilities being built all the time with academy matches due to take place at the new grounds from early in 2019.

And Roddy believes the switch will have a huge impact.

“I think it will make a huge difference for us,” said the Royals academy manager.

A board at Hogwood shows every academy product to debut in the Reading first team in the past decade

“When it’s finished, it will be as good an environment as anywhere in the country.

“I think it’ll probably help Paul (Clement) and Gianluca (Nani) because prospective first team players will drive into the new Bearwood site and be wowed by it, because it is impressive. You can see already how great it’s going to look.”

He added: “I think for the club it’s a great statement from the owners that they are committed to the long-term development of the club.

“The club achieved a category 1 status when it was audited as an academy. That’s the highest status that an academy can achieve and it’s retained that status over the last eight seasons and it’s important that we retain it going forward because that enables us to play against the big boys.

“We can play best against best and we can test ourselves all the time against those academies that would aspire to be the very best.

“It helps us attract the best young players as well so Bearwood is a big part of that.”

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But Roddy admits moving to state-of-the-art facilities will also provide new challenges.

Liam Kelly is one of the latest academy products

“We just need to be careful because Hogwood is a very down-to-earth environment and it’s dead easy to keep our players grounded here,” he said.

“We will have to balance that a little bit.

“In the modern day with modern day football, one of the ingredients of a successful academy is keeping the players grounded. That’s never been a problem at Reading.

“When we go to Bearwood, one or two might get ideas but we’ll just have to manage that a little bit.”

“We’ll be fine. The important thing is that it’s going to create a step change for us.”

Ed Franklin, now Reading’s head of elite development, has been working with the club’s academy since 2005.

And he had nothing but praise for the new Bearwood site.

“The environment you’re in and the tree line and the amount of pitches and quality of pitches that we’re going to have, allied to where they’re going to put the buildings, it’s unbelievable,” said Franklin.

“I’ve been here 13 years at Hogwood in Portakabin city and we have a nice array of Portakabins but to have this purpose built environment in such an environment, out the back of the patches you’re going to have a trim trail.

“An alternative to doing a recovery session in the gym, you can go out and take them around the outskirts of the facility.

And for the first time we’ll be able to have everyone on site so where we have the two facilities at the moment where the have the hybrid training, the U16s will sometimes train over at the dome but now everyone is on site so we don’t have to split staff and everyone can have that meeting point.

“It’s going to be life-changing but the key is to keep the grounding because it’s going to be something special for sure.”

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