Drop Feders? No chance cobber!
After a series of rare mistakes from the usually reliable Adam Federici, a small minority of Royals fans have called for his head, while others are seriously starting to consider his future. However unless you have a short-term memory, dropping the Australian at this early stage is very na´ve considering the part he played in the successful Championship campaign of last season.
Post-January, along with the rest of the squad, Federici shone hugely with a string of superb performances between the sticks. The games that stand out to me are the 2-0 victory over Coventry in February and the 1-0 triumph at Brighton in April. We certainly were not at our best against Andy Thorn`s side, but managed to flatter ourselves with a 2-0 scoreline thanks to three superb saves from the Australian in the second half.
I went to the game against Brighton and never have I ever seen us come under such a bombardment in the whole of our Championship campaign as we did that day, so much to the extent that Brian McDermott decided to deploy an extra man in midfield for the majority of the game. Five minutes into the second half, we conceded a penalty and it appeared the pendulum was swinging in the way of the home side.
However, despite Federici never particularly being known for his penalty saving ability (only his second spot kick denial in his Reading career, with his first coming against Swansea`s Gary Monk), he palmed Ashley Barnes` penalty away and the Royals held out for a priceless three points on the south-coast that would no doubt help in their fixture against league leaders Southampton the following Saturday.
Yes, he may have only had two good games that stood out, but the 27-year old`s all round goalkeeping certainly improved. Federici had never been a huge fan of high-balls into his penalty area and often shied away from these, along with questions on his distribution. Both aspects have shown considerable improvement. Consistency also has to be noted, I cannot remember a single mistake made in the previous campaign.
All of Federici`s mistakes are certainly inexcusable, but he certainly isn`t the only one or will be the last one. Even the experience of Shay Given and Pepe Reina have made costly mistakes already this season, while the great potential of David De Gea has been dropped to the substitutes bench. Some may ask why doesn`t McDermott take this option? The simple answer is we do not have international and experienced keepers in reserve.
Young Alex McCarthy has made some very good cameo appearances in a Reading shirt, especially during the FA Cup run in the 2010/11 campaign. However, despite proving he is capable at Championship level, I still feel he isn`t ready for Premier League football due to jump in quality. Stuart Taylor on the other hand has experience, but as a back-up keeper. His last top division game was back in 2009, which speaks volumes in itself.
Federici needs that small dose of confidence to get back to usual, reliable self. I hope his second half performance against Peterborough will give him more belief in the build-up for next week`s encounter with Tottenham, which won`t be a quiet afternoon. Bringing in another keeper is really out of the question and completely unneeded. Despite his early setbacks, the Australian will recover and be a successful Premier League goalkeeper in the coming years.