Young Reading defender Rob Dickie is looking to build on his time out on loan in his career so far and break through to the first team at Jaap Stam’s Reading.
The 21 year-old centre back has been at Reading since the age of 6 and has largely been involved with the Under 18’s and Under 23’s side this season and is hopeful on picking up some appearances in Jaap Stam’s senior side who currently sit 4th in the Championship with 5 games to go.
Dickie has featured once for the first team in a competitive game, where he was a second-half substitute against Blackburn at Ewood Park on the penultimate day of the Championship season in 2016.
It was that substitute appearance for the first team which Dickie admitted was a stand out moment in his achievements in football so far.
“The best game I’ve played in was my championship debut against Blackburn, it was just a memorable moment for me and the highest standard I’ve played.”
Dickie has been on loan at a variety of standards of football as he featured for Basingstoke Town in the National League South (at the time) and Cheltenham in both the National League and Npower League 2.
“I have been at Reading from the age of 6, been called up for England u18s and u19s, went on loan to Basingstoke for the second half of the 2014/15 season and came 3rd in the league in conference south.”
He then moved to Cheltenham Town and was part of the side that won the National League.
“I then went on loan to Cheltenham town in season 15/16 in the national league and won the league to get promoted to league 2, then the following season went back to Cheltenham in league 2 until January and was called back to Reading by the manager as cover for the first team.”
Dickie admits that loan moves for younger players are a valuable experience and help younger players get used to the physical demands of 1st team football.
“I’ve been on loan to Basingstoke in the conference south and Cheltenham in both the national league and league two, they help you get used to the physicality and mentality of 1st team football”
He also says that loan moves mature you as a young footballer both on and off the pitch.
“When I went to Cheltenham I moved away from home for the first time in my life and it really helps you grow up and matures you, I recommend a loan to any young player.”
Moving away from home was one of the sacrifices he made as a young player, and Dickie expressed the importance of making sacrifices along the way, to make a successful career.
“My advice is to soak up all the advice you get from a variety of coaches and take on the best bits from each of them. Also you have to make sacrifices so make sure make it all worth it!”
Another factor that comes with a successful career, is how you comeback from injuries and Dickie has had a couple of setbacks including a serious injury after scoring a hat trick from defense in a 3-1 win over Chelmsford City in the FA Trophy.
“I have suffered a few injuries like any footballer, I ruptured two ligaments in my ankle after scoring a hat trick! That took about 4 months of rehabilitation and I’ve also had some minor setbacks with muscle strains but nothing else too serious! (Touch wood!)”
Dickie admitted that the best player he’s faced in his career so far would have to be between former Reading winger Royston Drenthe or former Newcastle midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa.
“I’ve trained with Royston Drenthe and he was something special and could see why he’d played for the kind of clubs he had. I’ve also played against Hatem Ben Arfa in a reserves game and he was also very good.”
The former England Under 18 and 19 international was also full of praise for former academy manager Eamonn Dolan who he described as a good and demanding coach.
“Eamonn was a very good and demanding coach, he’s one of those people who when he walks in the room everyone stops what they’re doing and take notice of him and listens.”
Rob will be looking to be involved for the first team’s match against Aston Villa on Saturday at Villa Park. He might also feature for the Under 23’s side against Leicester on Monday evening.
You can follow Rob’s footballing career on Twitter here!- (RobDickie96)