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What do Reading fans have to say about Aston Villa’s latest signing?

Reading v Swansea City - Pre Season Friendly Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images

Yesterday, we got a few words from The Tilehurst End on Aaron Tshibola, Villa’s new midfielder. We’ve upped the ante a bit and asked them for more.

Being the good guys that they are, they responded.

Despite playing fewer than 15 times for us in the league, it’s pretty clear that Aaron ‘Tish’ Tshibola is one of the brightest young talents we’ve produced in recent years. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that he could reach the same level that Gylfi Sigurdsson and Shane Long have.

We didn’t always regard him that highly. In the early stages of 2014/15, when Nigel Adkins was bringing a fair amount of youth through to the first team, Tshibola failed to stand out. In January of that season, he moved out on loan to League Two Hartlepool to help them in their tough fight against relegation. It was there that Tshibola really made his name, endearing himself to the Hartlepool fans in the 23 appearances he racked up. At the start of the next season, Steve Clarke showed a lot of faith in Tshibola by sending him straight into the first team. And, in truth, ‘Tish’ performed just as well as far more established teammates like Stephen Quinn and Oliver Norwood. Cruelly, injury cut short his season, meaning that he’d finish the season having appeared only 15 times in all competitions.

In many ways, the story of Reading’s 2015/16 campaign was one of a bright start, followed by collapse after October. Significantly, when looking back on that season, many Reading fans have attributed the collapse to the loss through injury of key players like Aaron Tshibola. Indeed, in an interview with Sky Sports’ Goals on Sunday after his sacking by the club, Steve Clarke (now assistant manager at Aston Villa of course) blamed the poor post- October showing on the loss of, amongst others, Aaron Tshibola.

So why was he such a good player for us? Certainly, he gave the midfield a lot of balance with both his physicality and composure. Physically, he’s a fine specimen, possessing power and stamina in abundance. However, he’s no crude, lumbering giant. What impressed me and many others was his technique on the ball and accurate passing.

For a 21 year-old, he’s mature beyond his years. I’m sure he’ll develop into a fine Premier League footballer.

Huge thanks to Simeon Pickup - @bucksroyal of The Tilehurst End for this. They are an amazing blog who were nominated for an FBA alongside us. Deservedly so!