READING FC starlet Sam Smith thought he was in trouble when he was called into the Jaap Stam’s office, only to be told he was being handed his full league debut.

The 19-year-old, who was on loan at Bishop’s Stortford just over a year ago, was told on Friday morning that he would lead the line for Royals in Saturday’s 2-0 defeat against Middlesbrough.

Supporters have called for the academy star to be given more first-team opportunities, particularly with Reading’s injury crisis up-front.

And putting aside a disappointing result against Garry Monk’s side, young Smith said he was delighted with his personal achievement.

“It was amazing, just walking out on to the pitch.

“The fans gave me a great reception, it was all a bit overwhelming.

“12 months ago I was playing at Bishop’s Stortford on loan in front of 30 people.

“The whole year has been a rollercoaster.

“He [Stam] pulled me into his office on Friday morning after breakfast and I thought I was in trouble to be honest.

“He told me I would be starting and showed me what he wanted from me and what I needed to do for the team.”

Royals welcomed back veteran striker Yann Kermorgant on Saturday following a long injury lay-off.

But Smith’s impressive performance against Boro means he could be in line to feature again when Reading play Nottingham Forest tomorrow [Tuesday].

He added: “Yann is a quality player and brings a lot to the team.

“I’ve just got to keep doing what I’m doing and hopefully things will work out.

“I tried to stretch them and get in behind to create space.

“The chances didn’t go in but I’ve learned a lot from it.

“We didn’t get the result we wanted but we have a game on Tuesday and we need to start making things right.

“Once we get one I think we’ll get a few after that.

“We know that we’re good enough.”

The young forward received plenty of plaudits for his performance from the Reading FC faithful.

And boss Stam admitted hailed Smith’s potential.

He said: “Sam did well.

"The last few months he’s made a lot of progress.

“He’s one of the young players we have a lot of faith in.”