Special players can change a game in the blink of an eye and, as Michael Olise showed just eight minutes after coming off the bench on Wednesday, he is most certainly a footballer in the ‘special’ category.
Reading were sleep-walking towards a fifth successive Championship defeat thanks to Jed Wallace’s first-half strike away at Millwall last night.
That was until teen talisman Olise, a player linked with Liverpool, Arsenal, Leeds United and Everton, stepped onto the pitch and produced a pass of such supreme, defence-splitting quality; one James Rodriguez himself would have been proud of.
The fleet-footed Frenchman left the Millwall defence chasing shadows with a sublime, one-touch through ball which gift-wrapped Lucas Joao’s 11th goal of the season and salvaged a point for a Reading side who stopped the rot at the fourth time of asking.
Olise’s match-changing cameo at the Den will have only added a few more pounds onto his rapidly rising price-tag.
Yet, when asked why his most gifted footballer was left on the bench when Reading needed a result, manager Veljko Paunovic issued a rather intriguing response.
“He’s a young player and is still developing and you can expect from the young players a certain lack of understanding of the big picture,” Paunovic told Berkshire Live.
“When he’s tuned in, he is definitely one of the players, probably in the league, that can change every single game.”
Whatever the reason behind Olise’s omission, Reading fans are clearly united in their desire to see the Frenchman return to the starting XI this weekend.
As last night showed, Olise can be the difference between a result and a defeat, the difference between something and nothing.