Tuesday 21 November 2017

Sheppard’s delight at Royals deal

A PREVIOUS spell in England failed to work out as he was axed by Everton, but Ireland U21 cap Karl Sheppard says he's now ready to make an impact across the water after agreeing terms on a two-and-a-half year deal with Reading.

The Championship club, who previously signed Shane Long, Kevin Doyle, Alan Bennett and Dave Mooney from the League of Ireland, came back to the LOI yet again as they signed up Sheppard from Shamrock Rovers following a very impressive season last term.

Sheppard already had a taste of life in England as a spell with Everton didn't work out, but now he's more experienced, more mature and is ready to follow in the footsteps of Long and Doyle by going all the way.

“I think I am ready for it now. When I first went over to England I was very nervous, I never really settled over there to be honest, but now I feel full of confidence and ready to do that,” Sheppard told the Evening Herald today.

“Playing first team football in Ireland gave me a lot of confidence, and I am just looking forward to training and working with the players and the staff here.

“I am more grown up now. I just wasn't ready when I went to Everton at 16, it was a massive shock to me when I got to England. Now I am an adult, I take things in my stride and I can deal with things.

“I want to train well, get my fitness up to scratch and try to break into the team. After that, who knows, maybe I could help push Reading back into the Premier League. But my first aim is to get my fitness up to where it should be and then try to break into the team,” added the Portmarnock lad.

Sheppard says that part played by Reading in the career path of players like Long and Doyle was key in his decision to move there.

“It was very much part of my thinking, seeing how well Shane and Kevin did.

“And if I can repeat what they did I can have a very good career for myself, they've done brilliantly and I really hope I can follow in their footsteps,” he says, though he'll have to wait at least a week for his debut.

“It was unrealistic for me to play this weekend as I haven't played in over a month, so the club told me to go home over the weekend to sort out my stuff and report in for training on Monday morning,” he added.

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