McCarthy eyes regular place
Goalkeeper Alex McCarthy hopes an extended run in the Reading first team will help him realise his dream of playing for England.
Royals boss Brian McDermott drafted McCarthy into his team to face Tottenham on Sunday following Adam Federici's dismal start to the season.
McCarthy conceded three goals and looked nervous at times in the 3-1 defeat, but he impressed on a couple of occasions, most notably when he produced a couple of early saves to deny Gylfi Sigurdsson and Jan Vertonghen.
The 22-year-old has been out on loan six times during his five-year spell at the Madejski Stadium, but with Federici now seemingly out of favour, McCarthy wants to establish himself in the Royals first team.
Should he do that, he hopes to impress Three Lions head coach Roy Hodgson, who only has a handful of good young goalkeepers to choose from.
"I hope I can get a run in the Reading team now," McCarthy said.
"I played in the Championship last year and I've been wanting to play in the Premier League for a long time. It's a massive league.
"The game's a lot quicker so I was pleased to get a start and I hope I can go on and build from that.
"I just have to get on and play my best. Obviously I want to play for England one day and this can give me a good chance to do that."
Federici put in two poor showings against Stoke and Chelsea before conceding twice against Peterborough in the Capital One Cup.
The Australian, who kept 20 clean sheets in the npower Championship last term, had been struggling with a knee injury, but was passed fit during training.
McDermott decided to leave him out of the squad, however, handing McCarthy his first Barclays Premier League start.
"I went training on Saturday and the gaffer pulled me aside and said I'd be playing," McCarthy said.
"He told me it was a tactical (decision). He said he didn't want me to feel that he was just pulling (Federici) out because he was injured, because obviously that would have an influence on the rest of the boys in the team. I was over the moon to make my Premier League debut."
Reading have struggled to find their rhythm since returning to the top-flight, although they were knocked out of their stride by a 25-day gap between Premier League games thanks to a waterlogged pitch at Sunderland, and the international break.
The Royals head to West Brom on Saturday knowing they must up their game to add to the solitary point they currently have on the board.
"We can take some positives out of the Tottenham game but we know we've got to do a lot better," McCarthy added.
"Shane Long's a top striker, really powerful, so it will be a tough game on Saturday."