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Reading XI if they kept their best players including Michael Olise and Omar Richards

If it wasn’t for Derby County’s 21-point deduction Reading would have been going into the final day of the Championship season with their second-tier status hanging by a thread.

Despite a spirited and valiant effort, Wayne Rooney’s Rams fell short in their great escape battle much to the relief of all Royals fans.

Reading, who had a six-point deduction of their own, are seven points ahead of Derby with one league game to be played.

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Next year will be the tenth consecutive campaign that Reading have been in the Championship, but their 21st finish this campaign will be the lowest they’ve finished since dropping out of the Premier League in 2013.

With the Berkshire-based retaining their Championship status, we have put together an XI of current, former and loan players that have been at Reading in recent years…

Emiliano Martinez

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The Argentine international arrived at the Select Car Leasing Stadium for the second half of the 2018/19 Championship campaign.

Martinez played 18 games for the Royals from which he got five clean sheets. Martinez returned to Arsenal in the summer but after failing to establish himself as the Gunners’ number one he joined Aston Villa for £17m.

The 29-year-old has established himself as Argentina’s number one stopper ahead of this winter’s Qatar World Cup.

Andy Yiadom

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The Ghanaian has made 132 appearances for the Royals since joining from Barnsley on a free transfer in the summer of 2018.

There wasn’t a wealth of options at right-back so we decided to go with the 30-year-old whose contract in Berkshire expires at the end of June and who won Reading’s Player of the Season.

Reece Oxford

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Oxford’s first loan move away from West Ham United saw him arrive at Reading on the last day of the January transfer window in 2017.

The former Hammers youngster made just five first appearances for Reading, but he continues to impress in Germany.

After spells on loan at Gladbach and Augsburg, the WWK Arena side signed Oxford on a permanent deal and he’s made 28 Bundesliga starts for Augsburg this campaign.

Nathan Ake

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Similar to Oxford, Ake only made five appearances for Reading but what a defensive pairing they could have been in Berkshire.

The Dutch international is into his second season with Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, but he hasn’t yet established himself as a first team regular.

Omar Richards

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After eight years of being at Reading, the one-time England Under-21 international was signed by German giants Bayern Munich on a free transfer last summer.

The 24-year-old has made 16 appearances for the Bundesliga champions in his first season in Germany, which included a Champions League debut.

Richards will no doubt be targeting further game time for the Bavarians next year.

Danny Drinkwater

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The three-time England international doesn’t make this team due to his recent form, but his inclusion is based on the influential performances he produced during Leicester’s memorable title-winning campaign.

Drinkwater’s career and performances haven’t been able to reach those dizzy heights since that crazy season, but just imagine a prime Drinkwater patrolling and dominating the Royals’ midfield.

John Swift

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What a campaign the former Chelsea youngster has had and with his Reading contract also expiring at the end of June, clubs are going to be circling to secure his signature.

The 26-year-old has produced his best goalscoring contribution season of his career with 11 goals and 13 assists to his name from 38 Championship matches.

Only Fulham’s Harry Wilson (19) has registered more assists than Reading’s midfield marvel in the Championship.

Michael Olise

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Such has been Olise’s impressive form in his first season at Crystal Palace, Patrick Vieira’s former club Arsenal are thought to be looking at the French Under-21 international who has a release clause worth £35m.

Olise has established himself as one of the most exciting young prospects in the Premier League. He earned a move to the Eagles with a brilliant campaign with the Royals, scoring seven and providing 12 assists in the Championship.

Palace got a deal done by triggering an £8million release clause for the 20-year-old who has four goals and nine assists to his name for the Selhurst Park side.

Gylfi Sigurdsson

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After joining Reading from Icelandic side Breidablik in October 2005, Sigurdsson didn’t make his league debut for the Royals until 2009.

But the attacking midfielder had a tremendous campaign, scoring 20 goals and providing eight assists from 44 matches across all competitions.

Sigurdsson started the following season with Reading and had two goals and one assist from the first four Championship matches before being signed by Hoffenheim.

The 32-year-old, who is dead-ball specialist, has also had spells with Swansea, Tottenham and Everton.

Matej Vydra

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The Czech Republic international has never been able to transfer his goalscoring form from the Championship to the Premier League.

The pacey forward has often flipped and flapped between the top-flight and the second tier, but it was in the FA Cup where Vydra showed his best form for the Royals, scoring six goals from the 2016 campaign’s first three games en-route to Reading reaching the last-eight.

Vydra has 65 goals from 187 Championship games whereas in the Premier League he has a return rate of 11 goals from 106 matches.

Shane Long

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Arriving from Cork City in July 2005, Long would play under Steve Coppell, Brendan Rodgers and Brian McDermott during his six-year stay in Berkshire.

The Republic of Ireland’s best performances came under McDermott and the one campaign that stood out above others was 2010/11.

From 44 Championship matches, the pacey Irishman scored 21 goals and provided 18 assists in what was undoubtedly the beast season of his career.

The 35-year-old’s contract at Southampton expires at the end of June and it’ll be interesting to see what’s next for the former Royals marksman.

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