Royals seal of approval

Defender Alex Pearce admits he is a much better player for his spell with Norwich City - but now has his sights on playing Championship football for Reading.

Defender Alex Pearce admits he is a much better player for his spell with Norwich City - but now has his sights on playing Championship football for Reading.

Centre-half Pearce, 19, made 11 appearances for the Canaries last season after signing on loan in January, earning high praise from manager Glenn Roeder for his performances and his attitude.

Roeder has already said he is looking to recruit more loan players for the new campaign as he begins a major overhaul of his senior squad.

But Pearce, who made his Scotland Under-21 international debut last month, is determined to play a part in relegated Reading's attempt to regain Premier League status at the first attempt.


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He said: “I was desperate for Reading to stay up, like everyone was. I was watching the results on the last day and to win 4-0 against Derby and still go down is devastating, but what is done is done and we have got to move on. Hopefully for me I can now force my way into the team.”

Steve Coppell's team chalked up an awesome 106 points in winning the Championship in 2005-06 but lasted just two seasons in the Premier League.

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Pearce played three cup-ties for the Royals last season but did not feature in the top flight - and readily accepted the chance of a temporary move to Norwich.

He said: “Reading wanted to keep me, but I was happy to go to Norwich and play games and get some experience under my belt.

“I still have a lot to learn about the game and I still have a lot of developing to do but I am eager to learn more.

“Playing in the Championship has been great and I feel I am a better player now that I have had some games.

“Before going to Norwich I'd had a few run-outs in League One but the step up to the Championship has really been of benefit to me - it was a real opportunity.”

Pearce, born in Oxford but given his first Scotland Under-21 cap in the 4-1 defeat by Norway at Kilmarnock last month, said he was confident Reading would repeat their Championship promotion success.

He told the Reading Evening Post: “It is a competitive league. Teams have struggled to bounce back up but I feel we can because Reading have been there and done it in the Championship.

“There are obviously some very good players in the Championship but it's a physical league.

“I played in some tough games for Norwich against teams like Watford and Stoke, who bombard you with the long ball.

“I'm not sure what they have got planned for the Premier League, but they have been successful with the way they play and it works for them.”

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