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Reading's Alex Pearce - the new John Terry?

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Paul Fletcher | 10:38 UK time, Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Reading defender Alex Pearce found himself in the headlines before the start of the season when his manager compared him to England captain John Terry.

The Royals had just played Chelsea in a friendly and Pearce had enjoyed a very solid afternoon trying to snaffle the not inconsiderable threat posed by Terry's club team-mates Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka.

Pearce and Terry come from very different backgrounds. Terry went to Eastbury Comprehensive in Barking and played for the Senrab club side that also counts the likes of Jermain Defoe, Sol Campbell and Ledley King among its former players.

Pearce attended the esteemed Oratory School in Woodcote in Berkshire. Composers, politicians, soldiers and rugby players are among the famous Old Oratorians. Pearce played fly-half for the rugby team and showed early promise but always preferred the round ball.

There are undoubted comparisons to be made between Pearce and Terry beyond the fact that both wear the number 26.

Alex Pearce challenges Tottenham's Jermain Defoe during an FA Cup tie in January 2008 Pearce marked Jermain Defoe in an FA Cup tie in January 2008

Both have come through the ranks at their club. Pearce seems to have the same drive and natural leadership that Terry obviously possesses in abundance. They are good in the air, solid all-round defensively and competent in possession. Pearce is candid enough to admit that he is far from quick, though the same might be said of Terry.

"John Terry never seems to get caught," added Pearce. "People say he is not the quickest but he is sharp in the mind.

"I actually try to base my game on him. I watch him all the time on TV and study his play."

Pearce was brought to Reading by current boss Brendan Rodgers as a 12-year-old when the Royals manager worked with the club's Academy,

Rodgers eventually left to take up a similar role at Chelsea before a short spell as manager of Watford ended when he returned to Reading. Knowing Terry from his time at Stamford Bridge, Rodgers gave the defender's mobile phone number to Pearce.

"I texted John and he said I could call him any time. He has since texted me a couple of times before games to wish me luck," added the Reading defender.

Rodgers is obviously in a strong position from which to compare the two players, but I wonder whether Rodgers might have been shrewd to keep his observation to himself. Being compared to the England captain is a hard billing for a young player to live up to, although Pearce describes the comparison as a massive compliment.

Certainly, there are plenty of talented young defenders in the Football League - Sean St Ledger (Middlesbrough), Miles Addison (Derby) and Sean Morrison (Swindon) to name but three. I would be very interested to know who you rate - and who you think can go on to play in the Premier League.

I met Pearce last week and several times during my conversation I had to remind myself that he is only 20. He talks with a calm assurance and maturity way beyond his years. I suppose it is a measure of Pearce's even temperament that he seems to be unfazed by the burden that being compared to Terry can bring with it.

Pearce, with loan spells at Northampton, Bournemouth, Norwich and Southampton under his belt, was made vice-captain over the summer but, with Ivar Ingimarsson injured at the start of the campaign, he started the season as skipper.

The script suggested he would form a key part of the bold new era under Rodgers, who has adopted a new system with a heavy emphasis on ball retention.

But not much has gone to plan at the Royals this season.

The season didn't start all that badly with two clean sheets in their opening three Championship fixtures and a 5-1 win over Burton in the Carling Cup.

But Reading have managed just two goals in their seven home Championship fixtures and have conceded 23 goals from their 15 league games. They have problems at both ends of the pitch and have lost their last four games.

The Royals lost again on Monday, 1-0 to Leicester at the Madejski Stadium. They haven't won at home since January and are currently in the bottom three.

Reading, with Pearce returning to the side as skipper in the absence of the suspended Ingimarsson, were unluck against the Foxes but were punished for failing to convert any of the numerous chances they created.

Clearly, something isn't working and the Rodgers era has yet to get off the ground.

Perhaps the new boss has tried to change too much, too soon. Rodgers changed the system when he took over, with Steve Coppell's attacking 4-4-2 giving way to a more fluid 4-3-3 system with a heavy emphasis on retaining possession.

"It takes time for everyone to get used to new systems," said Pearce diplomatically. "There has been a massive change in the club and it does not gel overnight.

"We do a lot of passing in the new formation on the training field, working hard to get used to our positions and what to do in the shape - that is the idea."

Rodgers revealed the pragmatist within him by switching to a 4-4-2 for the recent game at QPR, acknowledging the need for a temporary return to the old system to get some points on the board and rebuild confidence. The Royals lost 4-1, prompting fans to chant the manager would be sacked in the morning, but he stuck with 4-4-2 against the Foxes.

Rodgers has experimented with changing personnel as well as his formation and Pearce found himself rested after the 3-2 defeat at Peterborough in mid-September.

Determined to show his commitment, the 20-year-old surprised everyone by turning up in the dressing at Preston before kick-off after driving up to support the side for their midweek fixture.

Reading boss Brendan Rodgers Rodgers is under pressure after a poor start to the season

Pearce is one of several players in and around the first-team squad who have come through the Reading Academy. The likes of Hal Robson-Kanu, Jem Karacan and Simon Church have all figured this season and, although it might not look that way at the moment, Pearce is confident that they can form the basis of a successful future for the Royals.

The central defender, who has played for Scotland Under-21s but remains eligible for England Under-21s, is out of contract at the end of the season but is confident a new deal will be sorted out. He told me that he is happy to let his agent sort it out while he focuses on improving Reading's position.

The club's current predicament must be painful for Reading supporters after the golden era under Coppell but Pearce is adamant that morale remains high within the squad.

"The spirit in the camp is brilliant and all the lads get on well," he said.

"Without a doubt there is an undoubted amount of ability in our group of players - it is just getting the right blend with youth and experience and the manager will get that right."

And when I asked Pearce where he saw himself in five years, he exhaled loudly and thought for a moment before smiling and remarking: "Captaining Reading in the Premier League wouldn't be bad - but I think we need to focus on the short-term first."

You can follow me throughout the season at twitter.com/Paul__Fletcher

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Interesting you tag St Ledger as one of the best defenders, I think as he plays for the Republic, his rise has been nothing short of meteoric, I am hoping he is not another flash in the pain like McShane, now at Hull.

  • Comment number 2.

    Really rated this guy when I saw him play last season for Reading when they tonked us 6-0. Was suprised to see him loaned out to Southampton and would be very happy to see him swap the blue and white hoops for the blue and white stripes someday.

    Paul - don't know if you've managed to see them play but how do you rate Mark Beevers and Tommy Spurr - both lads billed higly but have both had rather disappointing seasons so far.

  • Comment number 3.

    Paul I do not know if you have watched Reading a great deal, I will assume that you have not. How Pearce is Vice-captain of Reading is beyond me he was only in the team last night as Ivar was suspended and O ‘Dea was injured. He is everything you do not want a defender to be, ponderous , slow, terrible decision making and his positional sense is usually wrong and he looks and plays nervously which I think passes on to the rest of the defence.
    The comparison with Terry is laughable they are light years apart in terms of ability and attitude on the pitch, whilst Terry is not the quickest he has every other attribute that you want as a central defender and Captain; Pearce I am afraid to say does not have any of them. In my view, he is a League 1 Player which if Reading carry on like this he may well be next season.

  • Comment number 4.

    I thought Pearce looked strong and composed during his time at Southampton and I was impressed by his aggression and ability in the air. Much like another Saints loan signing, Neal Trotman.

    Trotman looks like a new Sol Campbell to me. On the ball he's okay and doesn't complicate things, keeping it nice and simple, but in the air and when he challenges he's extremely uncompromising. I've watched him a few times now and I've never seen him lose a 50-50 - in fact I can't recall seeing him come off worse in any challenge he's gone in for.

    Position-wise he maybe has a bit to learn but playing alongside Rahdi Jaidi he's improving with every game and that partnership is a key factor in our winning run of late.

  • Comment number 5.

    i saw the lad play up at St James' and was very impressed - reminded me of one of our own, Steven Taylor. He is highly rated here, but we are not used to quality defenders since Albert left. Do you think he has shown enough potential to rise to the top?

  • Comment number 6.

    St ledger will be one of the PL's finest when he goes up with Boro, should have held out for england honours but no doubt the early international experience will help him. As for Pearce, just like Wheater. No, being imposing and confident does not make you a good player

  • Comment number 7.

    Oh great! Do the lad a favour won't you? Comparing a lad who's just scraping into the first team at a poor Championship team with the England captain. Need a hand carrying that millstone Alex?

  • Comment number 8.

    This lad Pearce may look good in the Coca-cola but these 'promising youngsters' are invariably found out if/when they step up to the PL.

    And I wouldn't regard comparisons with Terry as too big a compliment. The man is so overrated it's embarrassing. But I suppose that's par for the course when you're England captain.

    On a side note, England will get found out in S Africa if Rio doesn't cut out the mistakes. For too long he has had to carry Terry (and Vidic/Evans at club level), and if RIO can't be relied upon then what hope do England have.

  • Comment number 9.

    Liam Fontaine at Bristol City has spent most of his career on loan to Gary Johnson (Yeovil & Bristol City) before finally signing permanently a couple of seasons ago.

    He's quick, good in the air and can mark all types of strikers. He is massively improved over the past year, and if he can cut out the odd moments of getting the wrong side of the striker - particularly when defending high up the pitch - which hinders his overall performances, he could well be involved in a big money transfer to the Premier League in the next 12-18 months (unless he makes it with City of course, COYR!)

  • Comment number 10.

    Pearce is, no doubt, a very good defender. He's very assured and mature in the way he plays - indeed, not too disimilar to John Terry, However - and here's the sticking point, I think that he, along with the rest of the Reading youngsters, begin to look a little nervous and lacking that all important confidence at the moment. Stil, a fantastic prospect. URZ !

  • Comment number 11.

    I might be bias but for me the best young defender outside the premiership is Leicester's Jack Hobbs, he's only 21 and is getting better and better with each passing game. Hobbs originally came on loan to the foxes at the start of last season from Liverpool before making a permanent switch in the summer, and initially looked a player with obvious potential, but was lacking in first team experience. However, a full season alongside the likes of Aleksander Tunchev, and later in the season Wayne Brown has matured Hobbs into a cracking player and someone who I do think has the raw ingredients to become a top premiership defender. Strong in the tackle and good in the air, Hobbs has also improved his distribution this season and is a player who gives you guaranteed consistency. I see Hobbs going a long way in football and hopefully with Leicester City. On a side note it really makes me smile that teams like Liverpool have no interest in young players such as Hobbs and would rather waste money on foreign garbage such as Sotirios Kyrgiakos, Leicesters gain is definitely Liverpool's loss.

  • Comment number 12.

    royalsfanmike - I'm inclined to agree with you - though you should remember the comparison is not mine but was made by Brendan Rodgers.

    To be fair to the Reading boss, I'm not sure he was suggesting Pearce will go on to reach the heights of Terry, more that he shows some of the traits for the Royals that the England captain does for his clubs side. Even so, I think it might have been better left unsaid.

    Some interesting suggestions of talented FL central defenders. I have seen St Ledger play several times and I think he can definitely make it in the Premier League. Scores his fair share of goals too.

    As for Reading's form - any Royals fans out there with thoughts on the matter?

  • Comment number 13.

    8- Your comment is an absolute joke. I know this is an article about Pearce but to say Rio has carried Terry at international level and Vidic at club level is absolutely laughable.

  • Comment number 14.

    Hi Paul , I am a Swindon fan i would like to know what you think of our young starlet Sean Morrison you mentioned him in the article and i would like to know if you have ever seen him play and if so what do you think of him..
    Swindon also have a Scott Cuthbert A Scotland Under 21's international and i believe he has captained them on a few occasions . He really has been a class act for us since signing from celtic for 300k in the summer and is in fact keeping sean out of the team . Whats your view on the both of them?

  • Comment number 15.

    In regards the form of Reading Paul, last night was the best we had played all season yet we couldn't score despite having chance after chance. The club have had to cut the cloth accordingly after relegation from the Premiership and a failed attempt at promotion 1st time round when the club financially pushed the boat out to the maximum.

    Reading Football Club has drastically stagnated over the past 6 months-1 year. We only got 18,000 for a Championship Playoff Semi Final in May and now we're short of a couple of decent strikers and a right back (no slur on Jay Tabb, he played well last night). The chairman has to take responsibility because he is now unwilling to put any additional money into the club having taken a massive hit in the credit crunch like most multi-millionaire's and now it's his responsibility to find a new owner who can take the club forward because if not we'll be fighting relegation and if the Championship is a hard enough to get out of, then what about League 1? Leeds & Nottingham Forest can vouch for that and it took us 4 years last time we were at that level (1998-2002).

  • Comment number 16.

    Pearce is so good that he missed about four games for us! He only really came back last night because (a) he is vice captain and normal captain Ingamarsson was suspended, (b) O'Dea was injured. And I don't thin khe did enough last night to justify a longer stay back in the team. Maybe he is suffering from the Botham syndrome (ie he's better when not worrying about being captain)

  • Comment number 17.

    As for promising central defenders then Simon King of my club Gillingham is one of the best around. He was the best centre back in league 2 last season by a mile and being left-footed makes the defence more balanced. It's a shame he wont play this season until the new year as Mark Stimson has said that we would be much higher in the league if he was avaliable.

  • Comment number 18.

    I'm inclined to agree with you, 13. ChelseaLad89

    Terry doesn't need anyone to carry him, and I think we would miss Nemanja more than Rio if one or the other were to leave.

  • Comment number 19.

    And by the way, Paul - I ALWAYS enjoy your blogs more than others on BBC (although I enjoy most), even when the subject matter is as boring as this.

  • Comment number 20.

    EricDantona - are we to assume you think the subject matter is boring because Paul's blog isn't about Manchester United, the top of the Premiership or the Champions League?

    There are 91 other teams in the football league my friend, they all deserve some attention as well!

  • Comment number 21.

    EricDantona

    I'm surprised you, as a Utd fan, don't appreciate the security and class that Rio brings to your back line. Fair enough, he isn't going through the greatest period of form right now but, when on form, he is one the top 3 or 4 CBs in world football (behind Nesta, Lucio, Canna and Puyol).

    Vidic and Terry are 2 lumbering brutes who can't deal with mobile strikers or anyone who can trouble them physically. I have seen both struggle against the likes of Torres, Drogba, Yakubu, Rodallega, Eto'o, Kenwyne Jones etc...

  • Comment number 22.

    I completely agree with you Paul, Alex pearce is a talented footballer and i dont think it will be long before he is playing in the prem with or without Reading. He is still 20 and has the room for improvement. His pace may be an issue but he can counter that with positioning. Im sure he will lift the struggling championship side to glory in the future

  • Comment number 23.

    How Reading have ended up here is beyond belief.

    Two years ago we were sitting comfortably in the Premiership, still playing good football on the back of a great first season. We were in a similar position to what Stoke are now. We were an honest, well run club that had built a great team without spending huge amounts of money.

    But things change quickly in football and we lost confidence after Christmas. Maybe at this point we should have started spending a bit, who knows. It was disappointing to see us slip in to the relegation spots so late in the day. The potential of that team was good enough to be mid table but confidence is very fragile at Reading and some of the fans are too easily disheartened and the belief just goes.

    One year ago Reading were absolutely smashing teams at home. They were back to playing good attacking football. Players like Pearce and Karacan were coming through too. But again a lack of confidence and belief cost us in the end (as well as some pathetic behaviour from Andre Bikey at Turf Moor).

    What I saw last night was just absolute zero confidence again, but now combined with a lack of experience and to be honest a lack of courage. A lot of changes had to be made over the summer but I honestly feel that they went too far.

    James Harper, Leroy Lita, Michael Duberry. All as good if not better than what we have now, but we have let them go for nothing. Doyle, Hunt, and Bikey fair enough, they had to go, but the team has been totally wiped out. Incredibly Liam Rosenior stated that he wanted to stay at Reading and get them promoted again, a couple of days later he is offloaded to Ipswich on loan and told he wont be coming back.

    Its frustrating to see the likes of West Brom and Birmingham using their parachute payments to boost them towards the Prem, but we do not.

    Personally I feel Brendan Rogers has some good ideas and may do well given enough time, but he is treating Reading like an experiment. It's like Arsenal, they had a great team but decided to wipe it and start again with young players, but they haven't won anything since. Rogers has basically taken our promising young players and thrown them in to the deep end. And right now they are drowning...

  • Comment number 24.

    There is a real split in opinion on Pearce's ability. I think that those who aren't sure or who have already written him off should remember that he is only 20. Terry had a loan spell at Forest when he was 20. Defenders are still learning at that stage.

    nick_the_hoover (post 17) - I have seen Simon King play and I was very impressed. Calm, assured, in control. I guess the measure of a player like him is how badly he is missed?

    Wednesdaymorags (post 2) - I haven't seen the Owls this season but I have heard Spurr is a player with a lot of potential. Agree?

    STFC (Motherbearer) - How far do you think Sean Morrison can go? He looks the real deal.

  • Comment number 25.

    Last Year Sean Morrison showed maturity beyond his years and looked top quality at times but as with a lot 6ft + defenders who lack technical prowess , his anticipation of situations isn't the greatest .

    But i have high hopes and i believe he can reach the premier league eventually whether he is with swindon during that time or not . But whether he could stay there is another matter .

  • Comment number 26.

    Paul -

    Tommy Spurr was drafted into our starting xi due to a shortage of left backs at the time even though his preferred position was centre back. He had a torrid first season with many fans using him as a scape goat despite his young years. However, his second season with the club he came out a totally different player and is now a firm fans favourite.

    He offers the passion and commitment which every fan wants to see in their players and isn't afraid of bombing up the line. However, as with many youngsters he is still very raw. He all too often gets done for pace and finds himself on the wrong side of his man. Also, offensively his final ball can sometime leave a lot to be desired. However, Laws has great faith in him to the extent that last year he was occasionally given the armband.

    He still has a long way to go before he'd even be considered as being a potential premier league regular and challenging for a place in the national team but if he can show the improvement he had done in his game so far, I don't see any reason why he can't play at that level.

    Mark Beevers for me has more potential however. He cemented a place in our side as a 17 year old, which is no mean feat for a centre half and was fantastic in his first season with us winning both our player of the season and the Young Apprentice Trophy. This season he has found himself unlucky to fall down the pecking order behind new club captain Darren Purse and last season's captain Richard Wood, but with our poor defensive record it wouldn't suprise me if he snuck in ahead of Purse. Still only 19 he too has things to learn but has huge huge potential.

  • Comment number 27.

    My god how some people take this all so seriously ........ :-)

  • Comment number 28.

    Great article, Paul. I am a Norwich City fan and whilst relegation to League One has been hurtful, it has also meant we have had to blood some of our promising youngsters who I believe will go on to great things.

    Our Youth team made it to the FA Youth Cup semi finals last year and are unbeaten this season. We have seen the emergence of several of those youngsters in the first team already this season. Tom Adeyemi, 17, scored pre-season against Man United, whilst the likes of Luke Daley, England under-19 keeper Declan Rudd, David Stephens, Josh Dawkin and George Francomb have all made their debuts.

    But the player I wanted to tell you about is Korey Smith. Captain of the successful youth team, Smith has been a revelation since Paul Lambert's appointment...dominating midfield battles against more established names and the biggest compliment is that we sorely missed the 18-year-old in our defeat at Elland Road. Carrow Road regulars are comparing him to Wilson Palacios, he certainly has a similar combative, all-action style. Apparantly, Smith has been interesting some top, top clubs but we were delighted to see him sign a contract extension until 2013 for Norwich. Really is one to watch, Fletch.

  • Comment number 29.

    I'm surprised Pearce is still going. He did a good job at Left Back for England even when he fell out with Cloughie at Forest.

  • Comment number 30.

    Good luck Pearce but just so you know, Terry is seriously over-rated and in to be honest quite *hit

  • Comment number 31.

    #28 - Norwich's youth team aren't unbeaten this season, Leicester beat them 5-0 a couple of months ago.

    Agree with the comment about Jack Hobbs, fantastic young defender and we are lucky to have him, especially on a four-year contract.

    I am surprised no-one has commented about how dodgy Pearce looked on Monday night against us. As soon as DJ Campbell came on, he looked petrified and there was one moment when he was so scared of Campbell he ended up panicking and running the ball out of play. He's got a hell of a long way to go to be compared to Terry regardless of how young he is. Any number of young defenders are better than him in my opinion. I saw him a fair bit for Northampton in a loan spell in League One a couple of years ago and I think that's the division he'll end up in mainly due to lack of pace.

  • Comment number 32.

    hey Paul,
    What about young Ryan Bennet, played over 100 hundred games for Grimsby Town was named Captain, played for England Under 18s, and recently moved to Peterborough, and is still only 19. Do you think he'll be a top defender in the future?

  • Comment number 33.

    Paul, Gillingham have missed Simon King massively this season. It is unlikely that we would have made the league 2 play offs without him last season. While Simeon Jackson takes all the headlines at Gillingham, really our stars are King and Curtis Weston in midfield. If King would have played so far then we would definately have won at least 3 more games as he really makes our defence tick.

  • Comment number 34.

    Like John Terry? Don't make me laugh. I watched him play for Southampton last year against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park and he was terrible, so bad he was substituted. He was beaten in the air to almost every ball, and consistently lost his marker. His loan spell with us was not a good one, I hope for Reading's sake he has improved since then enough to help them out of the relegation zone.

    My tip at the start of the season in the Championship was for Reading to struggle. They lost a lot of their key players over the summer, and Noel Hunt to injury didn't help. My mate is a Reading fan and is suprised at their performances. Rodgers is a good manager, and needs time to develop the sides. Rasiak was a good signing - he scored a lot of goals for Saints despite not being the most mobile of players, and he can only come good. Any team struggling at this time of the season knows that at least they have the comfort of the January transfer window, on top of the fact that time is on their side.

  • Comment number 35.

    Post 8 - I would be inclined to say I agree with you on the point that John Terry is over-rated that it is, not quite laughable as you put it, but certainly a bit suspect and to say that Rio carries him is a bit far fetched, does that mean Carvalho carries him at club level then?

  • Comment number 36.

    eloquentrobgrim - I haven't seen Ryan Bennett in action but I will be covering a Posh game in early December and will keep an eye out for him. Thanks for the tip.

    TheUsh1985 - It is always good to read about clubs developing their own players. In terms of building for the long-term future, one potential silver lining of relegation is that young players are more likely to get a chance in the first team at a club.

    wednesdaymorgs - I often think it is harder for young defenders and keepers than midfielders and forwards since any errors they make often prove very costly and look terrible. A forward can miss a chance but if he bangs one in later, all is forgiven.

    As you say, the defensive duo are pretty raw but I am sure they will improve over time.

  • Comment number 37.

    Re: #8

    Your comment was ridiculous and gives the impression that you know nothing of English football.

    Vidic has been the better defender of the United Centre of Defense, and when SAF brings in Jonny Evans, 9 times out of 10 it will be to replace Rio Ferdinand, not Vidic!

    As for Rio Ferdinand carrying John Terry?? What utter rubbish! Look who the England Captain is, John Terry, who makes less mistakes? John Terry! Who is willing to do anything for his team? John Terry!

    I'm a Man Utd fan and I'm getting increasingly fed up with Rio Ferdinand, however, to say that he is holding both Vidic and Terry, 2 defenders that many have the opinion are the 2 Best defenders in the world, is a ridiculous statement and you should hang your head in shame of even suggesting it!!

    Can we please have some people commenting who actually know anything about football??

  • Comment number 38.

    How about Swansea's Ashley Williams? He has arguably been our best player this season in what is probably the meanest defence in the country. He does an excellent job of himself but also regularly has to cover his partner Garry Monk as well as Monk is not exactly quick.

    Williams was always a good physical player (pace, strength) and had good technique (heading, passing, even shooting) but has developed much tactically in teh past year as well. Definately a premierhsip quality candidate next eyar I think.

  • Comment number 39.

    yes pearce is a good young prospect but he is never really given a fair run in the team, as for the form of reading this season we played the best i have seen all season on monday and still lost. our day will come and things will turn round but at the moment the question is when will this happen?

  • Comment number 40.

    Promising pearce may be but in other cases like michael mancienne who got into an england squad he needs to prove his abilities in the PL

  • Comment number 41.

    What's up with you and Phil Minshull thinking you are suddenly scouts?

  • Comment number 42.

    Hmmm.... not too sure about Pearce to be honest. He is not a first team regular at the moment and Reading do not exactly have quality at the back.

    However he is good player for his age but unfortunately being at Reading I fear once he becomes a good first team regular he will be sold

  • Comment number 43.

    Fletch - I fully appreciate the recognition of Miles Addison!!

    I also believe that Addison will go on to play in the PL (hopefully with Derby, but possibly without!)

    However, I believe that Addison makes a better midfielder than a defender - certainly at this stage of his career.

    Terry Westley (who brought him through our academy), Paul Jewell and Nigel Clough have all gone on record as saying they think he'll develop into a very good centre back, however following his performances last season (as CM) and this (as (CB), many Rams fans would say he's been more effective as a powerful midfielder.

    He's able to break up play, but he's also fond of the occassional surging run forward to dictate and finish off plays.

    And his presence in midfield is a key ingredient that DCFC have sorely missed so far this season. Alas, i fear that Clough will persist in playing him at centre half when he's back fit.

  • Comment number 44.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 45.

    The way our strikers are playing this season ,i wish we could put the clock back and have a Pat Terry up front .

  • Comment number 46.

    Reading over-achieved to get to the PL and that has, unfortunately, raised some fans expectations far too high.

    But, having said that, they are too big a club to be struggling at the bottom of the Championship. They should be comfortable in mid-table.

    You have to look at the owner to see why it is that they are not where they should be.

 

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