By Sports Reporter
ENGLAND-BORN Zimbabwean footballer Andy Rinomhota has been rewarded for his rapid rise at English Championship side Reading FC after signing a new contract to stay at the club until 2022.
The 21-year-old is enjoying an impressive breakthrough season in the Reading first-team and has been rewarded with a three-year-deal.
Rinomhota, signed from non-league AFC Portchester in 2015, has made 20 appearances this season on top of two earlier ones, though he missed Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Rotherham United as he recovers from injury.
Nevertheless, the Leeds-born player appears to have a big future ahead under Reading manager Jose Gomes.
In a statement on the Reading FC website Gomes said: “I am very pleased that Andy has extended his contract with us at Reading. He has drive and determination, which are fantastic assets for any footballer, and he has an excellent attitude and maturity for a young man too. He is also a big inspiration for other aspiring players at our club who can feel that there is a path from our Academy to our first team.”
Rinomhota joined the Reading Academy in 2015 and featured for the Under 18 and Under 21 teams before laying down a marker in the 2016/17 campaign with 39 appearances for the Under 23s.
He was given a place in Royals’ 2017 pre-season squad to the Netherlands before making his senior debut in a Carabao Cup win against Gillingham that August.
Rinomhota waited patiently for his first league appearance, in which he came from the bench in a 3-2 win at Preston on September 15, 2018 and remains Reading’s only away victory this season.
A first league start followed in another 3-2 victory at home to Bristol City on November 3 when he was named man of the match.
He then became a regular fixture under Gomes until he picked up an ankle injury in a goalless draw at Sheffield Wednesday earlier this month.
Royals chief executive, Nigel Howe, added: “Securing Andy’s services until 2022 is excellent news for Reading Football Club. He is a bright, intelligent young man who will have a fantastic future ahead of him if he keeps applying himself as he has done throughout his time at Reading.
“He has risen to every challenge gallantly, and his success so far is another feather in the cap of our youth system which continues to produce top-quality talent for our senior side.”
Born to a Zimbabwean father and British mother, Rinomhota has been a major target of Warriors coach Sunday Chidzambwa, who is reportedly keen to convince him to pursue an international career with Zimbabwe.
However, after initially showing interest in representing Zimbabwe, the player, who is also eligible to represent England, appears to have had a change of heart, according to Warriors team manager Wellington Mpandare.