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Ruben Selles speaks for the first time on becoming new Reading manager

Ruben Selles speaks for the first time on finally and officially becoming the new manager of Reading ahead of the 2023/24 season.

The 40 year old has been confirmed by the League One side after having his work visa approved. He had been announced last month was made to wait for paperwork to be completed before he could start coaching the team.

Selles flew back to the UK on Thursday before taking his first training session on Friday and spoke with the media, giving his version of events on leaving Southampton and switching to Reading… clip play on the video below!

JOINING THE ROYALS

“It’s been a long wait for the work permission, but finally it’s done I am ready to take the challenge from the very beginning.

“It’s time to work immediately and get the very best for this team.

“I have been analysing the club and what happened last season – in terms of football and off the pitch. We have been working hard to analyse everything so that we can be ready from the very beginning.

“We know it is a big challenge to get the team back to the Championship, but we need to be ready to go from the start. That’s what we’re going to do.”

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

“The environment is really good. The facilities are amazing – like a top Premier League club in terms of facilities. And people working around the club are top class.

“Players from the very beginning have been embracing the ideas. We also have a talented Academy with young players coming in, and hopefully we can make a competitive squad.”

RECRUITMENT AND CULTURE

“We have an idea of what the team needs to look like from now and into the future. We need players that can fit the idea – from our Academy, players that know the competition, players that can give us extra points of quality.

“We are going to be very simple: we want people who will embrace the culture and want to work hard for this football club. We want honest people in the building; we don’t want anything different than that. It can make recruitment a bit harder, but we need to make sure we have the correct people are here working and playing for us.

“The culture should be in place, standards should be high from the beginning on and off the pitch. We need to build that from day one. If we put that in place and get a strong dressing room, working together and playing as a team, then the hard job is done. Then we can go on and win football matches.

“We want a dynamic style, a team that can play with speed, aggression and intensity. A team that is always organised and that can play and compete against any opponent.”

ROUTE TO READING

“My role has been different; I know that former players make up about 70-75% of managerial positions. I did it my way – I studied, I worked, I played the game. Since I was 25 I have been working in professional football – that means I have 15 years of experience at a professional level.

“And I think I have some advantages. I know almost every level of football, I know different positions and what goes into each job. I try to use these advantages to be really close to the people working with me. And the target is always to try to elevate them. Knowing the feeling in every part of the building gives me an advantage.

“The most interesting experience was last year here in England. I feel like I have been preparing for the next step each time. Hopefully all this knowledge and knowhow can be put together here and help bring success to Reading.

“We have 50 games in the calendar, plus all the preparation matches. It is challenging – two games a week most of the time. We need to be ready for that challenge and put the foundations in place right now. “

A MESSAGE TO OUR FANS…

“This is a time to support the team. I know it has been a tough period for these fans; I felt this myself in different circumstances.

“But I feel that this is a new beginning. We will have a squad that will compete and hopefully we will reach our target this year. And we just need their support – without the support, we can’t do anything.

“So I hope people support the players, staff and club from the very beginning and I hope to see the stadium with a good number of fans, making lots of noise, being the extra player! And hopefully we can build on that.”

“I just let my emotions go out for a little while,” he told the Athletic this week about his time departing from recently relegated Southampton.

“When you’re in the bubble and trying to do your best, you don’t have that mental space. I used the time to analyse everything. The word isn’t happy, but I always stayed in line with my philosophy, despite the situation. I will take a lot of lessons with me and of course, now, I have experience.”

Selles got more stick from fans for his selection decisions towards the end of the season.

“Unfortunately, from the outside, it looks like a PlayStation game where you can pick whatever players you want, make what substitutions you want and place it on pace, skill and strength stats,” he added.

“But this is real life and you with relationships. If you don’t have relations on and off the pitch, you cannot win. We tried to put out a team which wanted to play together. We made mistakes but getting that was always our intention.”

Prior to leaving, Selles gave a performance review that included his thoughts on the squad and the season.

After being questioned if he thought that it had been handed over to Russell Martin and his team to read, Selles said: “Honestly, I don’t care.

“I did what I felt was correct. I navigated and tried to be the face of the club. Basically, it was only me talking to the outside. I tried to work as if I would be there for the next 10 years and to prepare everything for the next manager.

“I prepared pre-season and provided all the statistics and the game plans, so the information was there. What the club did with that is not my business anymore.”

Now he turns his attention to Reading.

“The last few weeks have been really strange. Hopefully both situations – because the visa took longer than expected – have gone through and we can start a normal season,” he said.

“The club has an infrastructure, it has just been relegated. When we spoke at the beginning, the idea they offered was a good one and to come back quickly to the Championship. The situation with the embargo was over but then it came back and we didn’t expect that. It’s great everything has been agreed.”

CLUB STATEMENT:

Reading Football Club is delighted to announce that Rubén Sellés has now completed the paperwork on a contract to become first team manager of the Royals.

The Spaniard was at the training ground to welcome the players back to Bearwood earlier this month and was with the group for a pre-season training camp in his native Spain last week, but had to await confirmation of approval of his work visa before he could get to work out on the grass.

Born in Valencia and a boyhood fan of football at the Mestalla, Sellés finished a master’s degree in Sports and Physiology before qualifying for his UEFA Pro Licence at the age of 25.

Rubén soon embarked on a career in coaching the beautiful game, initially in Greece with Aris Thessaloniki but soon returning to his native Spain to take a role with Valencia.

In 2010, Sellés moved to Russia to become assistant to Igor Lediakhov at Shinnik Yaroslavl and, a year after, he was appointed as assistant manager back in Greece with Aris Thessaloniki.

Silverware came his way during assistant manager roles in Azerbaijan; following a two-year spell in the capital at Neftchi Baku, he went on to work under manager Gurban Gurbanov at Qarabag where he won back-to-back league titles. Between those spells in Azerbaijan, he also worked for a short stint in Norway.

In 2018, the Spaniard joined the Danish club Aarhus as assistant to David Nielsen and, having helped the Whites qualify for Europe, Sellés helped the club achieve its best league finish for more than 20 years.

A stint managing his boyhood club’s Under-18s squad ended when Sellés returned to Scandinavia to stand alongside Jess Thorup in the dugout of FC Copenhagen – and again he achieved success when Copenhagen claimed their first Danish title in three years and qualified for the knockout stages of the UEFA Conference League.

Last summer, Sellés arrived on UK shores for the first time and settled quickly into Premier League life on the south coast as assistant to Ralph Hasenhüttl at Southampton.

Having made his impact quickly at St Mary’s he was given the caretaker manager role when Hasenhüttl departed in November, presiding over a 1–1 draw and a penalty shootout win over Sheffield Wednesday in the Carabao Cup.

He was entrusted with the manager’s hotseat once more following the exit of Nathan Jones in February and he won his first game at the helm – a 1–0 win over Chelsea coming courtesy of James Ward-Prowse’s winner on the stroke of half-time at Stamford Bridge.

Southampton were already staring at relegation when Rubén took the reins but Sellés was able to record some notable results in charge of the Saints until the end of the campaign – a vital home win over rivals for the drop Leicester City, a valuable point at Old Trafford, come-from-behind high-scoring draws at home to both Spurs and Liverpool and a shock 3-3 clash at the Emirates that derailed Arsenal’s title charge.

Now, Rubén is a Reading man, ready for a very new challenge!

Head of Football Operations, Mark Bowen, said “The search for our manager was exhaustive, complex and undeniably challenging. It has taken longer than any of us wished or anticipated but it was imperative that we got the appointment of a new first team manager right. Having jumped this final hurdle, with all the visa documents now fully approved and ratified, I’m so pleased Rubén can now take the reins.

“Rubén is an ambitious man with an insatiable enthusiasm for football, a clear, conscientious and analytical approach to coaching and a determination and hunger to succeed. We all have to be aligned on a clear footballing philosophy at this club which can cascade down from the first team through the age groups of our Academy, fully embracing our continued commitment to the development of our young players…and Rubén has proven pedigree in implementing that philosophy.

“So we believe that, in Rubén, we have identified an impressive manager who is the right fit for us and who, importantly, is ready to grasp this opportunity and take on the challenges that lie ahead.

“Those challenges still remain, but we believe the outstanding financial issues which have kept this club under strict embargo are now being resolved, so we will tackle those challenges head on as a football club. This has to be the start! This must be the beginning of a project which will see us collectively drive this club forward. And that project absolutely has to include our supporters at every turn. Speaking personally, I wholeheartedly appreciate our fans’ patience which I know has been severely tested. Now, with Rubén at the helm, we will aim to revitalise this club and propel it along the right path.”

Fans reacted as Ruben Selles speaks for the first time on becoming new Reading manager…

@skol_ding: Best looking gaffer in the entire EFL, hang the banner

@evine2004: Back to back promotions coming I can taste it already

@EddieRFC7: Stop it 😍

@Fazzzzerr: look forward to giving him a standing ovation at fratton park this season

@dadros70: Hope it works out – gonna be a challenge every step of the way. Just need a load of free, highly motivated, fit, mentally tough, die for the cause, cheap wage players now

@DannWorth: Absolutely fair play to Selles taking this job and waiting around for so long given all the chaos behind the scenes. Buzzing – let’s go 🔵⚪️

@jamiewillby: My god we’re winning absolutely everything aren’t we.

@Luke1871_: OH YES 😍 Welcome to Reading, Rubén! Huge mission on your hands and hopefully we have signings ready to come in

@Sfc101010: Still convinced he’s a first team coach rather than an actual manager, but seems to have his head in the right place. Can’t judge him with us as our whole club was and still is in a mess. Good luck and hope it goes well for him and reading 👍

@royalex_B: Get in!! Now some players! 😍

@fenners100: Welcome Ruben! Thank you for taking on the challenge, good luck – you’re going to need it!

@Clivewratten: Welcome Ruben, I hope you have plenty of patience, can navigate outrageous internal politics & maintain a sense of humour, because you are going to need it. Thank you for accepting the challenge & we will be behind you 100%. #Backtheteamnottheregime

@tcthept: Good luck Ruben, not the success we’d hope he’d be here but hopefully, given time he can get you guys back up. Wishing both all the best for the season.

@JamesSheldon10: Best of luck Rubén, I think he’ll do a good job for you guys, he’s a good coach, just bad timing at Saints

@NorthamScott: Good luck to him. Will be watching you with interest over the coming season. See you next Saturday Ruben! 👍🏻

@CazParker1871: Welcome to Reading and good luck!! 💙🤍

@lisasaintsfc: All the best hope it works out for all parties.

@trebor_blue: Welcome news, now fingers crossed he can develop the young talent to build a winning squad.

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