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The SBI View: Miazga’s Reading move is perfect chance to rebuild reputation

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U.S. Men’s National Team centerback Matt Miazga knew it was going to be tough to crack the first team at English Premier League giants Chelsea. Now 25 and on his fourth loan spell away from Stamford Bridge, Miazga will once again have to show his worth to prove he belongs at the club.

After an unsuccessful loan spell with Ligue 1 side Nantes, Miazga joined up with EFL Championship outfit Reading, which like the other 23 second-tier sides, is trying to gain promotion to the Premier League. It’s been seven years since the Royals saw the bright lights of England’s top flight and 2018-19 looks to be going the complete opposite way they had hoped for.

Miazga has his work cut out for him as Reading currently sits in 22nd place in the Championship with only 25 points through 30 matches. They are one of four teams with six wins or less this season, and they have a -12 goal difference.

However, since Miazga’s arrival the club has grabbed points in draws against fellow strugglers Bolton and top-ten side Aston Villa. Despite being the new boy on campus, Miazga has been tossed right into the fire for Jose Gomes side. Both matches Miazga has started and grabbed valuable minutes as Reading tries to turn the ship up the league table.

While many players would be disappointed with this situation, Miazga looks to have taken it with both hands. Even though he saw his playing time diminish at Nantes, Miazga should enjoy the challenge at hand in England.

For some it may be a challenge, but for Miazga this loan is crucial for his development as a player and his future. If Miazga can stay fit and play a major part for Reading he could very well get a chance with Chelsea next preseason as well as earn minutes under new USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter.

Although should Chelsea decide to let Miazga leave the club, this valuable experience could help him find another club in England or in Europe where he can be a team’s No. 1 centerback. With appearances in both the Netherlands and France, Miazga should have plenty of potential destinations available if Chelsea decides to sell him.

After already being given a pair of starts, Gomes has shown that Miazga will be a starter for this team. He has helped Reading to only their second and third positive results of the new calendar year, and given them some hope for the remainder of the season.

Even though they will face each of the current top-six sides once in their remaining schedule, Reading can achieve the impossible and stave off relegation. A similar situation occurred last season with Everton loanee Antonee Robinson helping Bolton stay up with a win on the final day. For Robinson it gave him consistent minutes and also helped him pave another loan to Wigan Athletic, also in the Championship.

Miazga’s future is on his shoulders and what he does in the next three four months at Reading. The opportunity has been put in front of him and now it’s up to him to make the most of it. He has already proven that he can help his new team keep clean sheets with one already in his back pocket. Should Miazga help Reading stay up, it will pay off in big dividends for his short and long-term goals.

 

 

Comments

  1. He might want in ambition to frame it that way but the lesson to anyone else is if I am not awesome maybe I don’t want to sign for Chelsea and get caught in loan hell, which he will continue to play out. The reality is he was an interesting but unfinished player when he left and doesn’t come across to me like he’s grown from this. It makes the snobs happy but doesn’t actually fulfill any of their sales pitch of what it will do for the player or their career.
    Fulham is no titan of football but every time Dempsey came back he looked like a better player. To me the lengthy list of players on loan from their name brand clubs puts the value of that process in question.

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    • Miazga clearly progressed in his first loan in the Eredivisie/Vitisse. His move to France initially even seemed a good one until the manager who brought him in was sacked- that that is a pretty common pitfall. For sure it’s been a less than ideal situation but a 6 month swoon for a CB his age isn’t a career killer. His current assignment is not glamorous but- regular starts in the Championship w/ the intensity of a relegation battle will test him and serve him well. Do I see him starting for Chelsea? Not likely- but if he shows well with Reading and w/ the USMNT there will be demand… lets humbly hope for a lower half EPL side.

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      • I didn’t see progression for the Nats and no one actually saw him play for Vitesse or Nantes to know anything other than on paper he stepped up in terms of reputation. I also think that the Europhile obsession seems to be constantly climbing the ladder up when the best thing for a player sometimes is find a home where they will play you and stay a few years. What if he does well at Reading — as you say he did at Vitesse — but the theorized EPL team turns out like Nantes? This is part of what I get at on “loan hell,” is never the same team two years in a row, if you have a good experience you don’t stay and maybe the next team is a poor fit.

      • I’m not a “go to Europe at all costs” guy. I happen to think every player, his upbringing, strengths, weaknesses as a player and person, his support system and the options available dictate different decisions.

        The trajectory on Miazga’s career has been a steady progression- I never would have guessed it would be meteoric.

        We’ll have to disagree as I think he has indeed progressed from his time w/ Red Bull. Now- he hit a bump in the road at Nantes… again this is super common- even w/ veterans when a new manager comes in. It is inevitable there will be challenges along the way especially for a young player- Well…… he’s landed on his feet in a new situation and is getting a lot of minutes in hotly contested matches the championship. Could be a lot worse.

    • The “loan hell” you describe is the risk involved with moving to a major club at such a young age. I see your point of view but don’t blame Miazga and others for aiming high with their aspirations. One of the biggest clubs in the world comes calling and says they think you could be part of their squad in 1-2 years if you keep progressing. They flash a little more cash and sell the dream of starting for a Champions League contender vs the lower level team that is also interested. The small club says come give us a couple good years and use us as a stepping stone up the ladder. See the dilemma here? You might as well take the offer from the big club, get loaned out for a year or 2 and you will already be a Chelsea player. OR you go play for the small club and hope a team like Chelsea comes for you in 2 years. There’s a risk with either decision, but the taking the big club option is a bet on yourself as a player.

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