Things to know about the emerging defender
Omar Richards was released at the age of 15. He is currently pursued by Bayern Munich.
The Reading left-back has been an outstanding performer in the Royals’ surprise promotion in the 2020/21 campaign, and has since found himself a target for the European Champions.
Here’s everything you need to know about the 22-year-old.
Richards had to recover from a major setback even before making his professional debut.
The defender signed for Fulham at the age of ten, but was released by the Cottagers at the age of 15.
However, the disappointment did not persist and he signed for the Under-16 reading team, completing his youth career in the Royals’ academy system before signing his first professional contract with the club in July 2016 and make his senior debut the following summer. .
Richards put pen to paper on a contract extension in 2017, a deal that keeps him at Madejski Stadium until 2021.
Talks between the Royals and the 22-year-old over a new deal were in full swing in early January, but with nothing to agree yet he is free to sign a pre-contract elsewhere – and Reading could lose one of their des valuable assets for nothing in summer.
Richards is a typical modern day full-back: skillful, confident on the ball and exciting to move forward. This is associated with his combative, tackling and tenacious side which makes him a defensive asset.
In the first two levels of English football, only Manchester United right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka has a higher tackling success rate than Richards’ 85% in the 2020/21 campaign at the time of writing of this article.
The Reading defender has only missed three league games this season, and the Royals have failed to keep a clean sheet in each, demonstrating Richards’ enormous defensive influence.
Richards’ confidence in the future is not surprising given that he has spent the majority of his youth career playing higher up the pitch.
He only became a left-back by chance, having been invited to play there by Reading youth coach David Dodds – supposedly just for one game.
Prior to that, Richards had been a winger or attacking midfielder during his days at Fulham, citing David Silva as someone he admired by watching them play.
Richards grew up in a single-parent family and admitted that without his mother’s dedication, his professional football dreams may never have come true.
“I grew up with my mom, a single parent, I didn’t see my dad too much,” Richards said on the official Reading club website in 2019. “I’m lucky she makes a lot of things work. for me.
“I owe a lot to my mother. If it wasn’t for her who had taken me to all these training sessions from a young age, I’m not sure I would have been so motivated and kept playing football, so it is largely hers.
You know when footballers write controversial social media stuff before they get famous and it’s unearthed years later and they’re fined and forced to apologize?
We believe we have found the confession that could ruin Richards’ reputation.
In a 2019 interview, the full-back recalled his Reading Academy debut – and dropped one hell of a bomb in the process.
“I lived in a dig in Woodley,” Richards said. “It was different living with a different family, living with a dog – I don’t really like dogs very much…
“I remember when my officer first took me to the search, the dogs ran out the door, I dropped my bags and ran to the car!”