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Shaun Cummings: Leaving Chelsea right gamble to make

Shaun Cummings is hoping for a big second-half of the season at Reading. The 20 year-old fullback took the gamble in September to leave Chelsea, where he had been since he was 12 years of age, to sign permanently with the Royals.

The chance to again play for his former coach at Chelsea, Brendan Rodgers, was a big pull. But with Rodgers now gone, Cummings is hoping to get himself into the first team ahead of the new manager being appointed.

"Well, I was back in (the first team) the other week against Scunthorpe and although things have been a little bit stop/start for me, I think I did well and I just need to take my opportunity when it comes," Cummings told tribalfootball.com.

"Brendan told me to keep working hard and to improve the different areas of my game in training which I need to, to become a better, more accomplished full back."

Reading coughed up a fee for Cummings to lure him away from West Brom, where he had been playing on-loan.

"There was interest from a few different clubs and it was difficult to leave Chelsea, but I'm 20 years old and feel I need to be playing first team football - which is an incredibly big ask at a club like Chelsea," said Cummings.

"I knew Brendan's style of play, how he trains and his man management and that was one of the main reasons behind the attraction of coming to Reading in the first place."

It took a big decision from Cummings to sign long-term with the Royals as he had a good relationship with Baggies boss Roberto di Matteo. A former Chelsea star, Di Matteo gave Cummings his first taste of senior football with MK Dons last season before taking him on a similar loan to the Hawthorns at the start of this term.

"To be fair I owe a lot to Robbie and have the greatest of respect and admiration for him as a coach and as a person," admits Cummings. "He gave me my first opportunity to play first team football at MK Dons and I really enjoyed my time there.

"I'm not surprised they're doing so well this season. Especially coming down from the Premiership and having a manager like Di Matteo. I think they've got an excellent chance of getting promotion this year."

While West Brom are looking up, Reading are struggling at the wrong end of the Championship table, but Cummings insists he's joined a Premiership club-in-waiting.

"The boys are all confident, we're training well and playing well. I think the general consensus is that we just haven't had the rub of the green, but I think all the lads feel good going into the Christmas period and confident we can kick on from there.

"For me, I just want to play as much football as I can and help the club establish themselves as a Premiership team," says Cummings.

The ease with which he stepped into a full campaign with MK Dons last season - without any senior experience behind him - was proof of the quality of coaching at Chelsea's academy, says Cummings.

The young defender insists the number of young players Chelsea now have successfully playing away on-loan this season shows that the London giants are getting their youth system right.

"Naturally all the facilities at Chelsea are top class and it gave me a good education, being there since the age of 12," he said.

"Obviously when you see players like Jack Cork, Michael Mancienne and Ryan Bertrand albeit they are currently on loan it shows that they develop players who are more than capable of playing at good levels."

At Reading he's joined by former Chelsea teammate Ryan Bertrand, who recently broke into the England U21 squad.

"I've known Ryan for a long time and I think he's doing really well here. I think the England recognition is only natural especially being the type of player he is," adds Cummings.

For the moment, the prime goal for Cummings is establishing himself at Reading. But given the ease - and the admiration won from the likes of Di Matteo - with which he handled stepping in at MK Dons last season, it's a good bet Cummings will end the season as Reading's first-choice fullback.

Chris Beattie
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Chris Beattie

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