How important are loan moves to a young player’s career?

The experience of loan moves to a club to get regular first-team football is so crucial to a player’s career.

The players have often been at high profile academy clubs for most of their youth career and a loan move to a side further down the football pyramid has the potential to be influential in the long term. On my website, JP Journalism, I have interviewed players who have had loan moves and they tell me how big an impact that has had on their careers.

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Shaquile Coulthirst was on the books at Tottenham Hotspur and he has had loan moves to the likes of Leyton Orient, Torquay United and Southend United. The now Ebbsfleet United forward believes those moves were key to making him the player he is today:

They help you grow, more building a bit of character. Some of those places were a bit far away from where I was born, in Hackney. They help build your character and that’s important in football so it has helped me to where I am now.

West Bromwich Albion loanee Zak Delaney has been getting first-team football at Bath City in the Vanarama National League South and the left-back thinks it has been a great experience:

To come into a team that’s struggling and we have been up and down and probably should be doing a bit better than where we are in the table. I think it’s a good experience for me personally to see what it’s like when you are struggling to just regroup and go back to basics. It’s a really good group of lads and the staff have worked hard to get where we are so thankfully the jobs are done now today.

This season in particular has shown why loan moves are so integral to a young player. The likes of Djed Spence and Conor Gallagher have shone for Nottingham Forest and Crystal Palace respectively this season and they look like they could make it to the very top. Most of all though, it is that experience of playing week in and week out and being able to adapt to new surroundings.

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Harry Kyprianou had the potential to be a regular at Southend United in the Football League, however, injuries set back the Cypriot and he is now plying his trade with Oxford City. The 25-year-old has had two loan moves to date and despite not featuring much in the latter, he found that it was a useful experience.

Lowestoft was a good experience. As a young man, I was desperate to get out and play games and show myself, and I really enjoyed that experience, especially the feeling of playing for three points that you don’t quite get with youth team football. I made my debut early into the following season so I guess that shows it was a useful experience for my development.

Bromley was slightly different, I was only there for one month, but again I really enjoyed my time there. It’s a club which will definitely progress into the Football League in the coming seasons, they’re very ambitious and are moving in the right direction. I would have been happy to stay for longer, but at the time I returned to Southend and got back into the team which was great also, so again maybe not development as such, but again a useful experience.

Some players may not have loan spells elsewhere and may be thrown in to the first-team at a fairly young age. Chelsea sends a vast majority of their players on loan to various countries so they can experience first-team football in another country, or sometimes their own. This was shown on a large scale when the likes of Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori broke into the first-team and they are all now successful in their own ways.

One thing is for certain, a loan move can help a young player develop a lot and that is why they are so crucial. But why do you think loan moves are so important and what loan players have impressed you this campaign?

The Author

Jack Patmore

Billericay Town Media Assistant | Work for The Non-League Paper, VAVEL, Phoenix FM & others | Part of The Football Writers Association | BBC Young Reporter Winner 2023

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