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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 February 2007, 07:11 GMT
Federici's rise
By Stuart Roach

Reading keeper Adam Federici
Federici's determination has seen him earn a contract at Reading
Reading keeper Adam Federici insists that facing Manchester United is easy compared to the hardship he has faced over the past three years.

The Australian was named the Football Association's player of the round for his FA Cup heroics against Manchester United at Old Trafford.

The Royals' reserve keeper will be between the sticks again for Tuesday's fifth round replay and said: "I'm just happy to finally have my chance.

"I spent three years knocking on doors and sleeping on floors in the hope of getting a contract, so to be facing Manchester United twice in two weeks is a dream come true."

Federici is one of the beneficiaries of manager Steve Coppell's policy of fielding some of the lesser-used players in his squad for FA Cup matches.

And the 22-year-old's heroics at Old Trafford 10 days ago have gone a long way to securing him an improved contract with the Premiership's surprise package.

"It was certainly good timing," Federici told BBC Sport. "I was at Reading on a non-contract basis last season but was given a one-year contract at the start of this season and the club had an option to extend it in the summer.

"It looks like that is going to happen now and it is nice to have some security and to finally be able to unpack my suitcase and feel settled."

Federici left Australia at the age of 17 and tried his luck in Italy for a year before heading to England with little more than a bag of clothes, a pair of goalkeeper gloves and the blessing of his family.

Even when Reading finally took a chance on him, Federici spent the best part of a year sleeping on defender Ibrahima Sonko's sofa because the expenses he was paid meant he could not afford a place of his own.

"My parents had faith in me that I would make it one day and I have been grateful for their support," he added.

"I have always had total faith in my ability but some of my experiences in Italy and a series of rejections in England meant I often felt like packing it in and going back to work for my dad as an accountant.

"When I came to Reading, Sonky offered me a place to stay and I always knew I wouldn't really settle properly until I could find my own place and unpack that suitcase."

Steve Coppell knows I am low maintenance. I don't need to be told to get to the gym

Adam Federici
Federici bombarded clubs with his CV and a home-made video of his best performances in Australian league football, but never got further than the occasional trial until Reading took a gamble on him last season.

"I had a trial at Bolton but at least seven clubs here and four or five in Italy turned me down," he said.

"They all said they felt I had the ability but not the experience and you can't blame managers for not wanting to gamble."

Steve Coppell finally took that chance and has gambled again by using the inexperienced youngster for all three of Reading's FA Cup games this season.

"Steve Coppell knows I am low maintenance, that I don't need to be told to get to the gym or put in the extra practice on the training ground and I think in that respect I am his type of player," said Federici.

"I had loan spells at Carshalton and Maidenhead United last season and it was valuable. You get roughed up a bit and thrown on your head at that level but it is still just a ball that you need to deal with.

"The same is true against Manchester United. Wayne Rooney is playing and Cristiano Ronaldo is playing, but it is just a ball in front of me that I need to keep out of the net."

From Maidenhead United to Manchester United in the space of 12 months, Federici is now guaranteed a place at the FA Cup final after winning the fans' vote for the player of the fifth round.

But now he hopes to go there as a player - and a replay win over United in Tuesday's BBC televised game would go a long way to realising that dream. And Federici has clearly got it all worked out.

"Hopefully I will have a spare ticket for the Cup final. My dad will want to come over, so if I am playing he can have my prize."



SEE ALSO
Reading v Man Utd
26 Feb 07 |  FA Cup
Federici is handed FA Cup award
26 Feb 07 |  FA Cup
Man Utd 1-1 Reading
17 Feb 07 |  FA Cup
BBC confirms ties to be televised
21 Feb 07 |  Match of the Day
Virtual replay
18 Feb 07 |  Virtual Replay
Reading 'not in awe of Man Utd'
16 Feb 07 |  FA Cup


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