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From battling leukaemia to battling promotion: The story of Reading's key man Yann Kermorgant

Monday 27th March 2017
With Reading sitting in the playoff spots, 35-year-old Yann Kermorgant has lead Jaap Stam's men throughout the campaign and deserves more recognition for his efforts in how far he has come to be the Royals' key man.

Born in Vannes, France, the striker was with the Stade Rennais academy but just aged 14, he was diagnosed with leukaemia.

The illness halted his career for four years before he joined Vannes in 2002 prior to a move to another French club, Châtellerault two years later.

After impressing there, Kermorgant switched to Grenoble – in a team that also featured fellow Frenchman Olivier Giroud - where he scored 16 times.

In 2007, the 6ft target man made another move, this time to Stade Reims wherein 2009 he was made captain before leaving the side at the end of the 08/09 campaign.

Following a few clubs in France, Kermorgant decided to apply his trade elsewhere in the shape of Leicester City, who were then in the Championship.

A successful trial meant that he was allowed to stay at the Foxes but struggled to settle at the King Power Stadium, having to wait until his 23rd game for the club before firing home against Middlesbrough.

However, he will be more remembered for his missed spot kick in the 4-3 defeat on penalties to Cardiff City in the Championship play-offs semi-final second leg; where he chipped his penalty into the grateful arms of David Marshall.

Spending a season away from Leicester after that miss at Ligue 1 club, AC Arles-Avignon, Kermorgant returned to England searching for a new club.

And that side would be Charlton, where he linked up with former first-team coach, Chris Powell, having worked with him at Leicester.

Powell had obviously seen the true quality that the striker possessed and it showed in League One.

In his first season at the Addicks, he scored 12 times in 39 matches and was runner-up in their Player of the Year award as Powell's side finished Champions that campaign.

He was firmly established as a fan-favourite for not only his creativity and prowess but for his effort in tracking back and getting stuck-in.

Another enjoyable season followed for Kermorgant in a Charlton shirt, notching 12 times again, this time in the Championship.

Following new ownership at The Valley, Kermorgant without having reassurance about his future decided to reluctantly move to Bournemouth in January 2014, where he scored nine goals in 16 matches for the Cherries until the end of the 15/16 season.

The subsequent campaign was another season of joy for the striker and he illustrated again just how good a player he was as Bournemouth finished as champions in the Championship to reach the Premier League.

The 17 goals scored by Yann Kermorgant were so influential to Eddie Howe's team and despite featuring in the Premier League for Bournemouth, he decided to move to Reading after two years at the Vitality Stadium.

After a fairly slow start at the Madejski Stadium by his standards, the 35-year-old has once again displayed his talents for Jaap Stam's side this season.

With Reading sitting in the play-off spots, Kermorgant is their top goalscorer with 10 strikes. At the age of 35, he just seems to continue to impress.

With his Eric Cantona-esque presence and style, it's about time that this other Frenchman gets the recognition he deserves.

From fighting for his life to battling for his third promotion in five years, Yann Kermorgant is no question, a credit to football.
Greg Stubley
Greg graduated with a first in Sports Journalism from the University of Brighton in Summer 2016 and has already managed to gain experience in the industry, working for companies such as Charlton Athletic and talkSPORT. Greg is currently the regular commentator on Charlton's "CAFCPlayerHD" service, bringing full-match live commentary along with Terry Smith of Addicks' games up and down the country for subscribers to listen.

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