ANDY RINOMHOTA admitted he felt he could have been turning out for Pompey against Reading last night.
The highly-regarded attacking midfielder has told how he’s loving life after being handed a dream move to the Championship side from AFC Portchester.
Rinomhota impressed on his return to the area for Martin Kuhl’s under-23 team in the Checkatrade Trophy last night.
The 19-year-old was given a dream move to the Madejski Stadium 18 months ago.
Rinomhota grew up in Portchester, came through the club’s set-up and had hopes of being picked up by the Blues.
That never materialised, though.
But last night he did get the chance to shine in front of his friends and family at Fratton Park.
Rinomhota said: ‘I’m from Portchester so it’s good being back here.
‘My parents were down.My partner and her dad and a few mates who I’ve seen, too.
‘I could have been playing for Pompey, but I wasn’t picked up so I went to Reading.
‘Now I’m back here and it was a weird experience.
‘I was at Portchester for a good five or six years coming through the youth set-up and into the first team.
‘I always thought Portsmouth may come looking but they didn’t in the end. Thankfully I got picked up by Reading.
‘It’s worked out for me. I ended up at Reading. I’m not going to complain at that!
‘I’ve been at the club for a year and a bit and it’s been an unbelievable experience.
‘I’ll always have a soft spot for Pompey, though, and the accent will stay in me!’
With no Academy set-up beyond under-18 level, Pompey have no platform to cultivate a player’s progress in the way Rinomhota is developing at Reading.
He is getting games at under-21 and under-23 levels with ambitions of senior football this term.
He thanked Portchester boss and former Blues boss Graham Rix for helping him on his way.
Rinomhota said: ‘When I first went there it was a big change in tempo and a big step up. Now I’ve adapted well and I’ve settled in.
‘Graham Rix is the main reason I’m here. He sorted it out for me and had me watched. It took off from there, so I owe him.
‘I’m loving my football at the moment. I’m playing regular under-21 football and occasionally training with the first team.
‘I’m hoping to push on and maybe at the end of this season get an appearance.’
– JORDAN CROSS