The London-born teenager has been smashing in the goals this season including sensational hat-tricks against Arsenal, Blackburn Rovers and former club QPR already in 2013. Just how good can the 17-year-old become?
While Reading FC’s senior team are currently struggling in the Premier League the same cannot be said about the clubs academy set-up. The Berkshire side top the Barclays Under 18 Premier League National Group 1 division after 14 games ahead of teams such as Bolton, Everton and Arsenal.
With that has come success in the FA Youth Cup; Reading produced a remarkable performance in the last round to defeat Brentford 5-1 at Griffin Park in the third round in December.
Amongst all the good team work obviously necessary for such success one player has been catching the eye more than others with his tremendous displays; Uche Ikpeazu.
The teenager from the London Borough of Brent starred during a Middlesex Cup success in 2010 which first brought him to the attention of Reading scouts and soon enough the former QPR trainee was snapped up on a professional scholarship by The Royals. When he was picked up Reading FC head of recruitment Colin Barnes stated:
‘’We have high hopes for Uche – he is a good athlete with a fantastic attitude and lots of potential. We are delighted to have him at Reading.”
Last season the 17-year-old did not start as many games as he would have liked but did enjoy a successful loan spell at Evo-Stik side Didcot Town which garnered some attention - he even scored on his debut against Thatcham.
This season however has been an entirely different story. He scored a brace in the youth cup victory over Brentford and has scored 16 goals in the league so far. The most impressive aspect of his game however is his ability to take a match by the scruff of the neck. Ask the Arsenal academy boys who were outmuscled, outpaced and outmanoeuvred by the hard-working centre forward as he bagged a hat-trick in a 3-0 win. He has since bagged two more hat-tricks against Blackburn Rovers and most recently against former club QPR; something that pleased him a lot on his Twitter account.
He has previously stated he models his game on Didier Drogba and given the similarities in their style of play you can see why. Uche is tall, strong and relentless in attack and is starting to add the clinicality that he may have once been lacking - as is evident in his impressive goalscoring feats this season.
Reading have reared some fantastic young talents in recent years such as Jem Karacan, Hal Robson-Kanu and Gylfi Sigurdsson but they may have an even more promising prospect on their hands with this young man.
Remember the name… Uche Ikpeazu.
image: © crystian cruz