Derby County have signed Republic of Ireland international defender Alex Pearce.

Derby County have signed Republic of Ireland international defender Alex Pearce.

The 26-year-old central defender has signed a three-year deal ahead of the expiry of his contract at fellow Sky Bet Championship side Reading at the end of this month.

A product of the Academy set-up at Reading, Pearce wore the captain’s armband for the Royals.

He also experienced promotion to the Premier League at the Madejski Stadium and also has top flight experience to his name.

Head Coach Paul Clement said: “Alex Pearce is an experienced central defender and we’re very pleased to have him signed.

“He is strong, physical and an international footballer as well so he has lot of good qualities.” 

Born in Wallingford, Pearce progressed through the youth system at Reading and signed a three-year professional contract in 2006.

He made his debut in 2007 for the Royals before moving out on loan to Northampton Town in League 1 towards the end of the 2006/07 season to gain match experience.

In 2007/08 Pearce, in addition to handful of appearances for Reading, he spent time on loan at AFC Bournemouth and Norwich City in League 1 and the Championship.

During the 2008/09 season, following another loan spell, this time at Southampton, Pearce became more established in the Reading side as the side reached the Championship Play-Offs but were beaten by Burnley at the Semi Final stage.

He made 23 and 24 appearances over the 2009/10 and 2010/11 seasons for Reading before being a near ever-present as the Royals achieved promotion to the Premier League in 2011/12, a season in which Pearce was named as Player of the Season.

In 2012/13, Pearce featured on 21 occasions for Reading in the Premier League before remaining a key player in the 2013/14 and the 2014/15 campaigns, firmly establishing himself as the leader in the Royals camp.

In addition to starring for Reading, Pearce has been capped on five occasions by the Republic of Ireland. He made his debut against Oman in September 2012 and he marked the occasion in style by scoring in a 4-1 victory.

Ironically, he scored his second goal for his country against the same opposition in September 2014.

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