TOM Holmes described the honour of turning out for his boyhood club after making his Reading FC debut against Bolton Wanderers.

The 17-year-old schoolboy was a surprise inclusion in Jaap Stam’s defence in the 1-1 draw with Phil Parkinson’s Trotters on Tuesday night after keeping both Tyler Blackett and Tiago Ilori out of the team.

Holmes, a Royals fan who has held a season ticket since he was 11 years old, admitted he thought Stam was joking when he heard he was in line to start against Wolverhampton Wanderers last Saturday.

After the clash at Molineux was postponed due to bad weather, academy star Holmes said he gave everything in training to push for selection on Tuesday night.

“We had a couple of sessions so I just worked my socks off and did everything I could to try and push for another start,” revealed Holmes.

“The gaffer put his trust in me and threw me out there. It was a six-pointer and on paper it is risky to put a teenager into the line up.

“I’m just grateful he showed the trust in me and the academy in general. It’s been great getting coached by him, the last couple of days he’s been really helpful because he knew I was in a strange mental position.

“He gave me some great tips and he’s someone I can learn from.”

The Maiden Erlegh School pupil became the sixth academy product to make his first team debut this season.

Holmes said he took inspiration from the likes of Liam Kelly and Omar Richards, adding: “All the other Under 23s have been really supportive. It’s always nice as an Academy player to see others go on to make the first team.

“I didn’t see it coming. I got the chance to go out to Spain for a training camp which I was honoured to do. I tried to impress and I must have done something right.

“I texted my family straight away when I found out I was in the line-up for Wolves. My mum thought I was joking. To be fair I thought the gaffer was joking at first.

“They were so proud of me. They know how hard I’ve worked and it’s something that we will never forget.”

Reading Chronicle:

Mo Barrow celebrates with Reading fans after scoring against Bolton on Tuesday night.

Holmes, who has been at Reading FC since the age of eight, stressed it was a daunting task to line up alongside former Royal Adam Le Fondre, a player he had cheered on from the stands as a young child.

“I support Reading, I’ve had a season ticket here since I was 11,” beamed Holmes, who was also a member of Berkshire and Reading as a young cricketer.

“I watched Adam Le Fondre play and it was great to play against him. At first it was a bit daunting lining up alongside him, but when you get into it, it’s just another football match.”

Holmes lasted the full 90 minutes on Tuesday after Stam admitted he was less than impressed with some of his more senior defenders’ recent performances.

And he hopes he did enough to keep his place for the visit of Leeds United this Saturday (3pm ko).

He concluded: “I’m just focusing on doing my best to push for another start and hopefully I’ll get the opportunity against Leeds.

“I had the whole day to prepare for it which was quite tricky. I was wondering around at home just thinking it through.

“I felt like at first my legs were a bit like jelly, but I got into it and I think I held my own.”