There’s nothing like the sting of relegation. Just ask Junior Hoilett.

The Canadian winger saw his Reading FC relegated from the EFL Championship on Thursday, meaning The Royals will spend next season toiling in League One. It will be their first taste of third-tier football in 21 years.

Reading needed newly promoted Sheffield United to beat Huddersfield Town on Thursday in order to have had any hope of staying up on the final day of the season this weekend, ironically when they face Huddersfield.

You can’t really blame the Blades if they’ve taken their foot off the peddle knowing they’ll be playing Premier League football again next season, but Huddersfield’s 1-0 win on Thursday has condemned Reading to life in League One.

The reality is crushing for Hoilett who wasn’t on the pitch for much of the last two months due to a hamstring injury suffered in training at the start of March. The 32-year-old made his return last weekend in a 1-1 draw with Wigan.

The Brampton, Ontario’s contract was due to run out at the end of the season so staying at Reading was highly unlikely. Now that there will be suitors for Hoilett’s services, there’s likely to be a few phone calls from this side of the pond, and Canada’s three MLS clubs shouldn’t be the only ones. Although, both CF Montréal and the Vancouver Whitecaps would certainly benefit from having a player of Hoilett’s quality.

The Canadian joined Reading in the summer of 2021 after five seasons at Cardiff City.

Reading’s tumble down the League Championship table this season was wild. The Royals have looked nothing like the side that started the campaign winning four of their opening six fixtures. Reading sat 10th in the table at the turn of the year, level on points with then-sixth-placed Middlesbrough. But a transfer embargo meant the club couldn’t bolster the squad in January, and a slew of injuries just derailed Reading’s season.

The club didn’t win a league game between the end of December and mid-February. A current 12-game winless run makes being docked six points by the EFL for breaching the terms of a profit and sustainability plan to manage their spending feel mild. Manager Paul Ince was sacked with two games left to play, and now managerless Reading are four points from safety.

One of the three Canadian MLS clubs would be wise to offer Hoilett a return home, though expect clubs in Turkey and League Championship sides that know the Canadian well to express their interest.