Ovie Ejaria is gaining admirers by the week at Reading, with a stunning goal in Wednesday’s 1-1 draw with West Brom seeing him praised as a “great talent.”
Ejaria rejoined the Royals on a season-long loan in the final minutes of the summer transfer window, and will make the permanent move to the Madejski in July.
This switch provides the 21-year-old with an opportunity to settle and truly find his feet as a young player, after failing to add to his eight appearances for Liverpool in the past two seasons.
Making his second debut for Reading in the EFL Trophy victory over Wycombe Wanderers, Ejaria then shone in the 3-0 victory over Cardiff in the Championship on Sunday, receiving a standing ovation when he was brought off on 85 minutes.
His third consecutive start came at West Brom in midweek, lining up alongside Pele and Jonathan Swift in the middle of the park at the Hawthorns.
Ejaria had already gone close in the first half and almost laid on an opener for George Puscas, but the breakthrough came in the second half in sensational fashion.
— Reading FC (@ReadingFC) August 22, 2019
Picking the ball up 25 yards from goal, Ejaria surged forward in trademark fashion and fired a dipping effort beyond Sam Johnstone and into the back of the net.
It was an excellent effort and gets the youngster off the mark at the beginning of what could be a breakout campaign with Reading.
However, Ejaria showed his naivety as he brought down Filip Krovinovic—in contentious fashion—in the penalty area with minutes left to play; Kenneth Zohore stepped up to convert for the equaliser.
Taking to Twitter after the game, most Reading fans shared the view that this would be a lesson for Ejaria, with the focus rightly on his goal instead:
Decent point and one we thoroughly deserved. We saw the brilliance of Ejaria tonight and his inexperience. I’m focusing more on his goal ??
Sum up your feelings about that result via #EPR3
— ElmParkRoyals (@ElmParkRoyals) August 21, 2019
Great result against a tough team! Great goal by Ejaria an despite the mistake for the pen he is still class. #readingfc
— Sam Clothier (@samclothier90) August 21, 2019
Ovie Ejaria showed his brilliance again today, but have to remember he is only 21-years-old. He will learn a lot from the penalty incident. We are lucky to have such a talented player ? #readingfc
— Talk Reading (@TalkReading) August 21, 2019
Other than Ejaria’s Blackett-esque disaster foul, which he’ll definitely learn from, that’s a very confidence building performance. Hard to see us not having a season that’s mid table at worst, but hopefully at the upper end a top 6 one. #readingfc
— Alex (@royalcrisp) August 21, 2019
Meanwhile, manager Jose Gomes described Ejaria as a “great talent,” but added that “there are some details of his game which he can improve,” while Berkshire Live rated his “outstanding” display a nine out of 10.
Next up for Reading is a trip to Huddersfield Town on Saturday, where Ejaria will face off with sometime Liverpool team-mate Kamil Grabara.
Grabara has produced some encouraging displays but the results have not gone the Polish goalkeeper’s way so far, with the Terriers yet to win in their first five games, including four defeats.
That includes Wednesday night’s 2-1 loss at Cardiff, though the Huddersfield Examiner deemed his performance a “solid show.”