Speaking to BBC Sport, Reading manager Mark Bowen has moved to praise his young side after they secured a spot in the FA Cup Fourth Round with a win over Blackpool in their Third Round Replay on Tuesday night.
After a 2-2 draw in the first tie, Reading travelled to Blackpool for their FA Cup Third Round Replay, with the winner earning a spot in the next round against either Cardiff City or Carlisle United. And, it was Reading who came out on top at Bloomfield Road.
Mark Bowen fielded a young side, starting with a defence of Omar Richards (21), Andre Burley (20), Tom McIntyre (21) and Teddy Howe (21). 18-year-old Michael Olise started in midfield and 19-year-old Danny Loader started upfront as the Royals won 2-0 thanks to goals from Lucas Boye and Jordan Obita.
After the game, Reading boss Bowen expressed his pride after the performances of his young players, highlighting his defence for dealing with Blackpool forward Armand Gnanduillet and the performance of Tom McIntyre. He said:
“There wasn’t anybody really that I could say was struggling today. They all stood up and not just stood up, but they looked like players, proper players.
“I’m delighted because I made my mind up to play senior guys who had waited for games, but youngsters as well. Coming to a place like this with the ammunition they’ve got, the big lad up front [Armand Gnanduillet] can cause you problems and I knew it was going to be a battle. But in a funny way, it never became that battle because our decisions on the ball were really clever and sharp at times.
“I thought we just handled the game well right throughout, professional. I thought Tom McIntyre was absolutely awesome at the back.”