Reading have appointed former Southampton boss Ruben Selles as their new first-team coach following relegation to League One.

With just 18 matches of managerial experience, there is very little to go off in terms of what Royals fans can expect in the coming season.

We spoke to Southampton Echo reporter, Alfie House, for the low-down on the 40-year-old Spaniard.

Reading Chronicle:

What can Reading fans expect to see on the pitch from Ruben Selles - philosophy/tactics?  

"Southampton were in a very difficult situation when Selles took over following the sackings of Ralph Hasenhuttl and Nathan Jones. The Spaniard wanted to revert to type after the failed Jones experiment and played a very similar way Hasenhuttl had done in terms of off the ball work being the priority. On a number of occasions, particularly while Che Adams was injured, he opted to start without a recognised striker despite having £40million of new signings in that position on the bench.

"If he plays a similar way to how he did at Saints, expect to see a defensive-first approach with very little patience regarding players shirking their pressing responsibilities – he credits fellow Valencian Rafa Benitez as an inspiration. Selles would much rather an older, slower player he trusts to carry out his gameplan than a raw gem with flair. He deemed a handful of expensive players unusable right at the start of his tenure and they pretty much all never got a look in again."


Record of only two wins looks bad on paper, were there any underlying positives seen in the 90 mins of action?

"Selles was able to galvanise most of the group initially and those two wins came in his first three games as boss, and he remained very popular amongst the players even right up to the bitter end. That is the ones that were still playing, anyway. He protects his players in the press and I think they like him for that, too. In typical Southampton fashion, they got good points in games against the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham – but they have always done that. They lost pretty much every single important game under Selles, usually by one goal and having done very little throughout the match.

"In terms of the football itself, there was very little to be positive about – the only times they scored more than one goal in a game, so did the opposition. The Premier League is obviously a really tough level to come into as your first management job though and he will hope his clear principles and process, which you will hear a lot of, will be given some more wiggle room in League One."

Reading Chronicle:

Academy always important for Reading fans, did he put any emphasis on youth development?

"It was not really the time for youth development at Southampton with relegation from the Premier League looming. The likes of young wingers Kamaldeen Sulemana and Samuel Edozie did not really get serious chances with the experience of Moi Elyounoussi often preferred. But he is a former under-19 coach and I believe he always wants the best for young players, he was seen at B team games on several occasions – sometimes when one of the young lads from the senior group was involved. He also gave Premier League debuts to Dom Ballard, 18, Kami Doyle, 17, and Sam Amo-Ameyaw, 16, after relegation was already confirmed – which was a nice touch at the end of the season."


Do you think he has the attributes to succeed as a manager?

"I don’t have the knowledge or experience in football to be able to rule out success for a 40 year old man who is a UEFA Pro License holder and a successful coach across Europe. He speaks and looks like a manager and ultimately failure, although it was little short of catastrophic, in his first job will not absolutely define him. Southampton fans are pretty much unanimous in agreement that his appointment was a disaster considering the timing and situation at hand, while I wish he was more honest with press and media after claiming he was going to be in his first conferences.

"He should have learnt a lot, and many Saints supporters will be watching to see how he gets on – while I think everyone wants Reading to be successful considering the difficult situation they are facing."