Former Reading FC striker Jason Roberts has lauded manager Brian McDermott as one of his “inspirations” ahead of the legends match this weekend.

The Greneda international joined the Royals in January 2012 and embarked on an incredible eight game winning run on the way to earning promotion.

Arriving in Berkshire after a six-year spell with Blackburn Rovers, the 44-year-old insists that Reading helped him fall “back in love” with football.

Speaking exclusively to the Reading Chronicle, Roberts said: “Blackburn was the longest I had ever stayed at a club, and we had come to an impasse regarding a contract. I really wanted to land somewhere that gave me the chance to be closer to my family but also with a chance to get back to the Premier League. Reading ticked all of those boxes from the outside but as soon as I came in, I fell back in love with football again.

"At Blackburn things had become very difficult off the field and, on the field, but Reading was how I remember a football club to be. It was a dressing room lead by people who were motivated and pulling in the same direction, supported by a coaching staff who were well motivated, with a supportive fanbase and a visionary manager.

“When Reading came in for me, it was the closest I had ever played to London, so I had my family coming to games, I was in an environment I really wanted to be, and I felt really fortunate to play for Reading at that time. I watched them the season before, and it was heart-breaking what happened in the play-offs. When I got the call at Christmas, I saw a big opportunity for me. I knew what they had up-front, I knew the team and the quality. As a striker you always look at who’s going to be your potential strike-partner and I felt there was a great balance there. Reading was the right place at the right time. I can’t say I knew we were going to achieve what we went on to achieve but I felt it was a great opportunity.”


Reading Chronicle:


Crossing paths with iconic McDermott ever since their days in non-league football, the Director of Development at CONCACAF has named his bond with the former Chief Scout as one of the main reasons behind coming back for the game this weekend.

“In my role now,” he began. “when it comes to leadership, there are a few inspirational people in regard to leading a group of individuals, and Brian McDermott is one of them.

“He is one of the finest managers I’ve ever worked for and what he created in that dressing room is special and I didn’t want to let the team down. It’s a real honour for me. I felt like I couldn’t not be there. I couldn’t miss it.”