Reading FC's thriving academy is full of young and promising goalkeepers, writes Courtney Friday.

The likes of Jokull Andresson, Liam Driscoll and 16-year-old Coniah Boyce-Clarke, who has reportedly caught Manchester United Manager Ole Gunnar Solksjaer’s eye, all look to have bright futures ahead of them.

But their pathway to the first team has been blocked – and they all look set for seasons within the youth ranks or out on loan.

Which raises the burning question, who on earth sanctioned the transfer of Joao Virginia?

I will start by saying I have nothing personal against Virginia. I have not spoken to him in person but he seems like a nice lad and always says hello when he walks past. I hope he goes on to have a long and very successful career in football.

But clearly, he is nowhere near at the required standard to play week in and out at Reading FC. His first games in blue and white were marred with hapless errors, forcing Royals to go out and bring in the far more experienced – and better – Rafael.

Now Everton loanee Virginia looks set to play second fiddle for the remainder of the season and unless Rafael gets injured, I cannot see him playing for the first-team again in the league.

He was an unnamed sub on Gomes’ bench again against Blackburn Rovers at the weekend and was even left out of the first-team in the Carabao Cup ties against Wycombe Wanderers and Plymouth Argyle, where third-choice stopper Sam Walker was given the nod ahead of him.

I am sure Everton want him to be fighting for a first-team spot in a competitive environment so despite him not playing regularly, they will most probably be satisfied to see Virginia stay in Berkshire until next summer.

But what kind of message does that send out to Reading’s young goalkeepers, who despite constantly impressing in the youth ranks, will not be offered a chance with the senior players?

Jose Gomes alluded that Royals were not in a position where they could send Virginia back to Goodison Park, seemingly suggesting the 19-year-old will be at Madejski Stadium until his learn terms come to an end.

He was quoted as saying: “He’s our player so I don’t think that can happen [letting him return to Everton].”

Surely, when it became apparent that Virginia was not ready to represent Reading at Championship level, the best decision would have been to have said thanks but no thanks and send him back to Everton, or at least try to.

The Toffees may have been able to find a more suitable loan deal for him where he could actually be playing on a more regular basis, which would suit everyone.

Managers and chief executives never want to concede that they have made an error in judgement.

But Virginia has to go down as a poor piece of recruitment by Reading FC, and it’s the club’s young players who are bearing the brunt of that mistake.