It’s not always easy for a club manager to praise one of his former players, especially when that player is about to face his team. Yet Reading’s Steve Coppell turns out to be different.
Goal.com quotes the Royals manager as saying that although Steve Sidwell didn’t manage to carve out a first-team place for him at Chelsea, he is now coming to the fore. Coppell praises the one-time Arsenal youngster in lofty terms, saying:
”His time at Chelsea has been more or less what he predicted. He knew it would be a struggle to get into the team but during the African Nations Cup he would have more of a chance and that’s the way it has transpired. I went to watch the game at Wigan and thought he was terrific. He is feeling more comfortable on the stage and will show more and more what he is capable of. It was a move (the move from Reading to Chelsea in the summer) he couldn’t turn down. You can look back in years to come and say ‘I should have done this, that and the other’ but if any of the elite four come in for one of your players then you are in trouble because it is irresistible for a player.
”It was the same with Siddy, who was honourable in all his dealings with us. He told me more than a year in advance what he was going to do and stuck to his guns. It would have been easy for him to bail out and not risk his future by going into tackles but he didn’t and every Reading fan appreciated his contribution. He worked hard and was 100% committed.”
Reading travel to Chelsea on Wednesday in a Premier League match. This season Reading are not flying high in the league as they did last time around but they are still holding on. However, Coppell’s modest side haven’t won an away game this season and beating the Blues at Stamford Bridge would be miles away from being easy since Avram Grant’s team haven’t lost at home in 74 matches. Sidwell is likely to feature in the match – and on form, he should be on the winning side.