Alex Pearce backs Reading boss Steve Clarke after Derby move

Alex Pearce
Pearce was made Reading club captain by manager Steve Clarke

Former Reading centre-back Alex Pearce has backed manager Steve Clarke to get the best out of the squad next season.

Pearce left the Madejski Stadium after joining fellow Championship club Derby County on a free transfer on Monday.

The 26-year-old Republic of Ireland international signed a three-year contract with the Rams but feels Reading will prosper under Clarke.

"As a manager I rate him very highly. He will get the best out of players," Pearce told BBC Radio Berkshire.

Clarke took charge of Reading in December following the dismissal of Nigel Adkins.

He took them to an FA Cup semi-final but the Royals struggled in the Championship and finished a lowly 19th.

"Personally, I'd like to really thank him as when he first came to the club, within a couple of days, he made me captain," Pearce added.

"He has obviously worked with the best and he will be looking to get it right at Reading.

"Hopefully the players can have a better year than they did last year."

Pearce leaves a club he first joined aged 12, having made more than 200 appearances since 2006.

"It's very sad for me to be leaving after so long," he said.

"It's 14 years, which is more than half my life. But I feel now is the right time for me to have a fresh challenge and fresh start and Derby is the right club for that."