It’s fair to say Matej Vydra’s short lived spell at Reading won't go down in history as the most impressive spell of his English football career.
A natural-born finisher who has broken the 20-goal barrier in the Championship for Watford and Derby County, winning the league’s Player of the Year award in 2013 and the Golden Boot in 2018, the 2015/16 season remains something of an anomaly in Vydra’s time in the second-tier.
The usually prolific Czech Republic international found the net a paltry three times in 31 games for Reading with the form that made him such a hero at Vicarage Road and Pride Park nowhere to be seen at the Madejski.
Goals might have been in short supply for the former Udinese forward in Berkshire but his attitude and commendable work-rate ensured he never lost his manager’s trust.
“Matej worked his socks off, he never hid,” a proud McDermot told Reading’s official website after Vydra set up the winner in a January 2016 triumph over Bristol City.
“We showed him a replay of the goal in the staff-room afterwards, and I said ‘that is what a match-winner does – and that’s what you’ve done today.’ That unbelievable tackle (in the build-up_ sparked a match-winning situation for us.”
Some four years on, Vydra is reportedly in line for a return to the Championship with McDermott’s former employers, Leeds United.
Marcelo Bielsa is at the helm these days and, according to The Mirror (22 November, page 74), the legendary Argentine has identified Burnley’s forgotten man as the player capable of bringing Premier League football back to Elland Road. Vydra, it is claimed, will cost £7.5 million.
And if director of football Victor Orta peruses the Whites' contact book to ask McDermott what Vydra could bring to West Yorkshire, the striker will no doubt receive a glowing review from a coach who always saw the best in him.
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