Loan Watch: Virginia's baptism of fire at Reading

Thursday, 15 August, 2019 27comments  |  Jump to last

Joao Virginia's loan spell at Reading has got off to a pretty rocky start with two defeats in their successive opening Championship games, 3-1 at home to Sheffield Wednesday and then 2-1 away at Hull City, where Everton loanees Matthew Pennington and Josh Bowler watched the game from the subs' bench.

Virginia hasn't made the impact he and Everton would have hoped for; he has made some costly errors which have seen Reading fail to gain a single point so far this season.

After letting in 3 goals at home on the opening day, he allowed a tame shot to slip through his grasp against Hull City, giving Jarrod Bowen the simple task of scoring from a yard out to open to put Reading's behind in the 2-1 defeat last weekend.

Virginia's shaky start in the Reading side will have been a real cause for concern, but the concern deepened for Virginia personally when the Reading boss added another goalkeeper to his squad. Former Brazil international, Rafael was signed on a 3-year deal after he cancelled his contract with Italian side, Sampdoria.

Rafael came straight in for Virginia, making his first start in the Carabao Cup against Wycombe Wanderers, and he performed heroics throughout the match. He saved two penalties in the shoot-out and won the Royals the game as they avoided an embarrassing cup exit at the very first hurdle.

The Brazilian's impressive debut has certainly given Reading manager, Jose Gomes, a selection dilemma heading into their Championship game with Cardiff City in front of the Sky Sports cameras on Sunday.

Virginia wasn't even on the substitutes bench against Wycombe on Tuesday night, and it seems possible that Rafael will keep his place in the side, and Virginia will be dropped to the bench (or worse), having missed his chance to shine.


Reader Comments (27)

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Kieran Kinsella
1 Posted 15/08/2019 at 22:49:59
I disagreed with Steve Ferns about this loan but in fairness I'll admit this is exactly what Steve feared might happen.
Steve Ferns
2 Posted 15/08/2019 at 22:53:17
Exactly Kieran, the kid is too young and this could kill his entire career. Goalkeeping is mostly in the head, or so says Big Nev. This will knock his confidence and make him doubt himself. A keeper doubting himself makes mistakes and at that age his career stalls.

I really wished he did well there, but he was far too young.

Jim Jennings
3 Posted 15/08/2019 at 22:56:35
Our own Jordan Pickford went out on loan at a similarly young or younger age and it didn't do him any harm. Not a promising start but let's not write the kid off yet.
Andy Crooks
4 Posted 15/08/2019 at 23:00:19
I thought this loan was a good move. With hindsight it wasn't. You are spot on, Steve. It will take remarkable strength of character for this lad to emerge from this loan with a career. Ninety minutes can destroy a goalkeepers reputation. One wonder goal can make an average striker rich and untouchable for years.
Steve Ferns
5 Posted 15/08/2019 at 23:07:49
Jim, it depends on the circumstances. Pickford went off on loan, not because they thought he was the future England No 1 but because they were unsure of him. If that's the case, fair enough.

Joao Virginia is meant to be a future Portugal No 1. There was no doubts over the lad. So it would be better to have had him as No 2 keeper, instead of Lössl. He can be working hard in training facing shots from our players, rather than lesser players at Reading. The lad is still learning. It's not time to put that learning into practice yet, he's far from finished. He would learn far more staying at Everton this season.

If our fears are confirmed and he's dumped to the Reading reserves, then we need to call him home and get him built back up. Because, his career is not over yet, not even close, but we need to be careful.

I always come back to Steve Simonsen. There was no flaw in his game. Perhaps he could be a bit taller, but this was 20 years ago so he was big enough. He could do everything you needed off a keeper and exceptionally well. He had a record number of clean sheets for Tranmere at 17 in the second flight. He came to us, he played too young, he had a few bad games, the crowd got on his back, and he became a nervous wreck and his career was destroyed.

We need to learn the lessons.

Jim Jennings
6 Posted 15/08/2019 at 23:29:17
Steve, yes it can depend on the circumstances but the premise of your comment at #2 which I initially responded to, was that he was too young.

Can't you see the flaw in your logic where you suggest he'd be better off as our second choice keeper...leaving him a Pickford injury away from being thrust into Premier League action at an age you claim is too young for him to play at.

It's possible that Silva and the coaching staff have a better idea of what is best for his development than you or I do. If you think there was no flaw in Steve Simonsen's game then fair enough, I'll leave you at that.

Steve Ferns
7 Posted 15/08/2019 at 23:51:11
No Jim, because we still have Stekelenburg.

Marcel Brands and Marco Silva thought he was better off on loan, so of course I'll trust their judgement. I just don't think it's right to loan keepers out under the age of 21 if you think they are going to be exceptional.

Andrew Presly
8 Posted 16/08/2019 at 01:37:24
If the situation at Reading has changed for him then presumably we have a recall?

We are the team who wear an old kit on the first day of the season though, so...

Harry Hockley
9 Posted 16/08/2019 at 02:00:29
Nobody knows what will become of this young and promising goalie. Talk about negative outlook, sure Reading aren't blessed with a good defence but the boys learning his trade at a good level at the moment.

Onwards and upwards, Joao!

Jack Convery
10 Posted 16/08/2019 at 03:34:21
Did he play a tournament for Portugal in the summer? If so, he's probably mentally exhausted. Get him back if Reading no longer want him and show him some TLC. It's all experience; if he learns from it, then that's the upside.
Jim Jennings
11 Posted 16/08/2019 at 07:34:10
Hi Steve,

Ok so when you said you “it would be better to have had him as No 2 keeper, instead of Lössl“ what you meant was No 3 keeper behind Stek. Got it now.

Liam Reilly
12 Posted 16/08/2019 at 07:44:03
Compared to the PL, the Championship is still very much a Blood and Thunder League and a difficult baptism for a foreign 21 year old keeper.

Looks like a bad call, but time will tell. If he gets the right support, he can come back from a couple of poor games.

Phil Sammon
13 Posted 16/08/2019 at 07:57:56
I don't understand how anyone can argue that this was a bad move from Everton.

It's an opportunity to get him games and experience. If the art of goalkeeping in mainly in your head then it's something this kid is going to have to get to grips with.

He won't ever become a top keeper by being mollycoddled or playing reserve team football.

Phil Sammon
14 Posted 16/08/2019 at 08:07:31

1. ‘Joao Virginia is meant to be a future Portugal No 1. There was no doubts over the lad.‘

2. ‘He can be working hard in training facing shots from our players, rather than lesser players at Reading.'

3. ‘I always come back to Steve Simonsen. There was no flaw in his game.'

Some bizarre statements in that post, Steve.

1. Virginia was going to be Portugal's #1 in the same way that Sonny Pike was going to be England's Maradona. Ultimately he needs to prove himself at Club level. The Portuguese manager isn't going to pick him based on his shot stopping at Finch Farm.

2. I'm quite sure the professional footballers at Reading are able to fire a shot capable of challenging a goalkeeper.

3. I'm lost for words.

Rob Dolby
15 Posted 16/08/2019 at 11:14:56
He will learn more about himself making mistakes on loan than gathering splinters on our bench.

It's a test of character and resilience that's is often the difference between very good and average.

Mike Gaynes
16 Posted 16/08/2019 at 12:25:16
Sorry, Steve and Andy, but I think it's pretty silly to write this off after two games. He has not "made some costly errors" as the article says -- he made one error, and it was hardly a howler. Wanna say Brands and Silva got this wrong based on one play? Not me.

Watch the highlights of both games. Reading's defense sucks. The kid wasn't remotely at fault for any of the three Wednesday goals -- two defensive lapses and one brilliant strike -- and the second Hull City goal was a wide-open header from six yards that he had no chance on.

Let's see how it plays out. We can always recall him.

And Steve, enough already with Simonsen... you're entitled to your opinion of his potential brilliance, but the record says your recollections are factually in error. He came to us at 19 but sat and watched his first two seasons, so he was 22 when he got his chance. And when he failed at Everton, his career was hardly "destroyed" -- he made 166 appearances for Stoke, was their player of the season one year, and also set their shutouts record of 7 straight as he had at Tranmere. He then had a further 100 appearances for Sheffield United.

I don't think there's a lesson there.

Danny Broderick
17 Posted 16/08/2019 at 13:04:41
If the lad can't make it at Reading, he has no future at Everton, or as Portugal's number 1.

I think it's a good loan at a nice club at a reasonable level. I wish we could do the same for DCL and Tom Davies.

Virginia will not be under too much pressure at Reading. All young keepers make mistakes - look at Pickford. He just needs to come out the other side. Unless you expose them to this, you will never know if they can come out the other side...

Si Smith
18 Posted 16/08/2019 at 13:17:21
Young Joel getting a baptism of fire by sounds of it, but I think its harsh to judge a young lads whole future on 2 shakey games.

Virginia got rave reviews last season, maybe a change of scenery hasn't done him any favours, being left out of the Carling cup may have taken him out of the limelight, and give him the rest his mind may need.

I'm sure he will show his true talents as the season goes on.

Dave Abrahams
19 Posted 16/08/2019 at 13:17:37
Virginia has what it takes to be a good goalkeeper, he is only nineteen, twenty in October, this season at Evertonhe would have been fourth in line ( going by age) so I don't think it will do him harm gaining experience at Reading, where, I imagine, he will have more chance of playing in some big games.

Southall was two or three years older when we lost heavily to Liverpool in a Derby game, don't know if he was responsible for any of the goals, but Howard sent him out on loan to gain more experience in a lower league side.

That loan deal probably helped Neville to become the great ‘keeper he became, so maybe Virginia can learn as he goes along, not forgetting the old adage: The man who never made a mistake never made anything.

Justin Doone
20 Posted 16/08/2019 at 22:34:41
Goalkeeping is the hardest position to judge. It's far more mentally challenging because it's a unique position, all keepers let goals in but as the last line of defence the goals conceded often highlight the keeper and possible flaws.

However, simple handling errors can't be ignored. All players need to learn from mistakes and not repeat them. But if they are not given another chance its hard for them to prove themselves.

At 19 there's many years of learning yet and the best way to learn is playing real games. Battling back to reclaim no1 at Reading is a good challenge for him and better than being recalled after falling at the first hurdle.

Derek Knox
21 Posted 16/08/2019 at 22:36:50
Hope his bad start is not only a one-off, but more importantly, doesn't dent his confidence too much, if he can get over this, it will make him a better person and keeper for it.
Peter Gorman
22 Posted 17/08/2019 at 00:09:04
I'm in the fence, no idea which comment is better: Steve's 'Simonsen had no flaws to his game' or Phil's throwback to Sonny Pike.

All in all, a great thread. Would post again.

Don Alexander
23 Posted 17/08/2019 at 01:13:17
What's between the ears is the key to success in sport and life itself. The Ozzie batsman Steve Waugh, when very young, took one in the mouth from the Windies quicks years ago but continued on to a hundred having first spat his shattered teeth out onto the pitch. If you have the talent, and want it enough (and that's the crux of my point) every obstacle can be overcome in sport.
Amit Vithlani
24 Posted 17/08/2019 at 06:02:42
My recollection of Simonsen was the transfer stunk to high heaven. We parted with ١m to the former club of our unpopular chairman.

What may have affected Simonsen was having a massive transfer fee hanging over his head as a teenager.

Steven Astley
25 Posted 17/08/2019 at 19:48:40
Did nobody see him last season during warm ups before the games?
I genuinely don't think I saw him make a save.
Barry McNally
26 Posted 18/08/2019 at 12:39:06
On the bench today - hope his confidence isn't dented too badly.
Ray Roche
27 Posted 20/08/2019 at 09:19:49
Amit @24,

Yes mate, there was some controversy surrounding the Simonsen transfer with plenty of people thinking it was a corrupt deal to line Johnson's pockets. Over-priced for his abilities and never likely to be first choice at a top club.

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