Everton confirmed on Thursday night that Joao Virginia joined Reading on a season-long loan. The 19-year-old looked set to be in the first-team squad next season, but Jonas Lossl’s arrival from Huddersfield Town has added more competition in goal. Marco Silva now has Jordan Pickford, Maarten Stekelenburg and Lossl at his disposal.
Since joining from Arsenal in August 2018, Virginia has impressed at youth level for Everton, making 31 appearances in the u18 Premier League (41 goals conceded, 11 clean sheets kept) and 15 in the Premier League 2 (11 goals conceded, nine clean sheets kept). He has two years remaining on his deal at Goodison Park and could have a bright future.
With Stekelenburg turning 37 in September and being in the last year of his contract, Virginia has a chance to become a regular first-team player next year. If the Portuguese u21 international can impress at Reading, Silva could take notice. With Anssi Jaakkola being released and Vito Mannone having an uncertain future, the Royals have plumped for the teenage goalkeeper to compete with Sam Walker next season.
It’s now up to Virginia to nail down a starting place at the Madejski Stadium.