READING FC Academy manager Ged Roddy is confident the club will continue to produce homegrown players for the first team.

Royals have a strong tradition of developing their own players, many of whom hail from the Reading area.

In all, 47 Academy youngsters have gone on to make their first-team debuts since it was launched in 1999.

The likes of Gylfi Sigurdsson, Simon Cox, Jem Karacan, Hal Robson-Kanu and Jordan Obita all came through the youth ranks at Madejski Stadium.

And Roddy, who replaced Arsenal-bound Lee Herron in February, will continue to trumpet the Academy’s name.

He said: “We have to sit alongside the manager and sporting director and recognise the job they have to do.

“Six Academy players made their debuts last season and every Monday morning we sit down with the manager and show a graph of how many homegrown players have featured in the first team this season.

“You have to look at this across a period of time. At the moment we’re in pretty good shape.

“This week we have five Under 23 players training with the first team and there were three on the bench at West Brom the other Saturday, one of whom (Liam Kelly) came on.

“The new sporting director understands youth development and to have young players involved. He’s also quickly understood the culture of Reading where the Academy plays a big part. It’s very encouraging.

“It will be a very sad day when the club loses that philosophy. The supporters understand that better than anybody.

“I think that legacy is pretty safe, but I’m not complacent, I will keep pushing the boys forward.”

Reading Chronicle:

Academy manager, Ged Roddy.

Six Academy graduates – Omar Richards, Sam Smith, Andy Rinomhota, Axel Andresson, Danny Loader and Tom Holmes – made their first-team debuts last season and remain part of Paul Clement’s squad.

Royals have also sent some of their best young players out on loan including Andrija Novakovich (Fortuna Sittard), Tennai Watson (AFC Wimbledon), Lewis Ward (Northampton Town) and Smith (Oxford United).

And Roddy spelled out the traits a young player needs to break into the senior ranks.

“I’ll give you one word, ‘character,’ he explained. “We have to recruit based on that.

“If we have good characters who understand the culture of the club and the Reading way, then we’ve got a chance.

“We can search for the best talents around the country, but you need the right characters with fortitude in abundance.

“We need players who understand the team comes first and, if you put good coaches with that, it will look after itself.

“Reading has done that for a number of years and hopefully will continue to do so.”

He continued: “We have a pipeline of young talent coming through. People talk about a 10-year process to get into the first team and the larder is pretty full of young, aspiring talent.

“I could go through all our age groups from Under 8s and identify seven or eight who we think are future Reading players.”

Reading Chronicle: Gylfi Sigurdsson

Gylfi Sigurdsson, now of Everton, started out at Reading's Academy before making his first-team debut in 2007, aged 17 years, 11 months and 18 days.

Roddy believes Reading’s move to the state-of-the-art Bearwood training ground next year will take the club to the next level again.

For the very first time the club’s first-team, Academy and women’s teams will all be based under the same roof.