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Wednesday 18 July 2012

Reading sign Mariappa and Gunter

Boss Brian McDermott bolsters Royals by signing new defenders

Jamaican international Adrian Mariappa made 247 appearances for Watford

Reading have reinforced their ranks by completing the signing of defenders Adrian Mariappa and Chris Gunter.

Mariappa, 25, has agreed a three-year deal with the Royals and will travel with the newly-promoted Barclays Premier League club on their pre-season training camp in Portugal this week after moving from Watford.

Gunter, 22, joins Brian McDermott's side from Nottingham Forest, also on a three-year deal.

Mariappa, who can play at both centre-back and full-back, told the club's official website: "It's a great feeling to have signed.

"The Premier League is the best in the world, I'm delighted to have the opportunity to come here, try to work my way into the team and perform for Reading football club."

"It's a great feeling to have signed. The Premier League is the best in the world"
- Adrian Mariappa

Gunter said: "Everyone has made me feel really welcome and I'm really looking forward to this opportunity.

"If you form a team spirit, a togetherness, you'll always do well in football - and if you work hard you'll get your rewards.

"Reading have certainly done that in the last few years. Hopefully that can carry on. Right now, I need to focus on impressing everyone at this club and I'm really excited to get going."

McDermott was pleased at his latest acquisitions, which follow the summer arrivals of striker Pavel Pogrebnyak, midfielder Danny Guthrie, full-back Nicky Shorey and striker Garath McCleary.

"I'm delighted to get the deal to sign Aidy over the line," said McDermott. "We have been chasing him all summer.

"He's been a very important player for Watford over a number of years, he is well known to most of our players already and also the staff here."


Of Gunter, he said: "He's already played more than 200 games at club level, plus another 37 for his country, which is phenomenal for someone so young.

"Chris already knows our club well, he is very close to Garath McCleary, knows our Welsh players and I also know he met many of our squad over the summer too."

Jamaican international Mariappa has been at Watford throughout his professional career, making 247 appearances for the Championship club after coming through the ranks at Vicarage Road under the tutelage of Nigel Gibbs, Chris Cummins and David Dodds, who are now all part of Reading's coaching staff.

"With both Chris and Adrian signing, we have added two excellent young players"
- John Madejski

From 2009 to 2011 he played 113 consecutive games for the Hornets, the fourth longest run in the club's history.

Director of Football Nick Hammond added: "It's great to have this done, it has taken a period of time over the summer because of the change in ownership at Watford so a lot has gone into getting it completed.

"He's a centre-half with Premier League experience, he's got good pace and is a fantastic individual. In terms of personality and character he'll fit in perfectly and also quickly, which is important."

Gunter was the youngest ever Welshman to play for the Under-21 national side, at the age of 16.

He was named the Football League's Apprentice of the Year in 2007, and his promise earned him a big move to Tottenham, for whom he made his debut in an FA Cup tie against Reading.

He then joined Forest, initially on loan, and has played more than 150 times for the side in all competitions.

Chairman John Madejski said: "With both [Chris] and Adrian signing, we have added two excellent young players, and they both fit into our ethos in terms of mentality, stature and their standing in the game.

"They both have their best footballing years ahead of them."

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Key Points

  • Adrian Mariappa and Chris Gunter both move to Reading
  • Defenders both sign three-year deals at the Madejski Stadium
  • Boss Brian McDermott excited by talent of new signings