Often Partisan

To Loan Or Not To Loan

The loan window opens tomorrow, and no doubt Chris Hughton will be making enquiries of various managers about what players are available for loan. I’ve been thinking about this, and I think it’s something worth discussing – is loaning in youngsters to bolster our squad good for the long term future of the Blues team?

Loaning young players can work out really well. You only have to look into our recent history, and the 2006-07 season when we took on Seb Larsson, Nicklas Bendtner and Fabrice Muamba on loan from Arsenal. All three did well for us throughout that season, and in Bendtner we had a finisher with talent that Blues would have struggled to bring in by another method. We did well out of that deal, as in the end we signed two of the loanees on permanent deals; made a profit when we sold on Muamba and got five years of good service out of Seb.

It’s also true we’re still short of bodies. Despite the subs bench being reduced to five again this season, with a campaign of a minimum fifty games still left to play, Blues’ squad depth is going to be tested to the full. When Blues played Watford before the International break, with the injuries and whatnot we’d piled up the squad we took to Vicarage Road was the bare bones – and it was also a tired squad. Now the games are going to come thick and fast, with a fair bit of travelling thrown in. Chris Hughton is going to have to be smart with who he rotates in and rotates out of the squad, and ensure we get the best from it. Adding a couple of young, fit and hungry players is only going to improve it.

The problem is I think it stymies development of our own younger players. Look at Nathan Redmond for instance; I think he came into the squad as much from the lack of options as he did because of his talent, and the games he’s played will have helped him develop as a player. If we’d have had a fully fit squad, would have he had the chance to make a man-of-the-match performance against CD Nacional?

And that’s the crux of it for me. As much as I can understand people want the best team for Blues, and the best chance for the squad to be promoted, I’d like us to try and develop more of our youth team. It’s a really, really tricky call – there is the old adage that “if they are good enough, they are old enough.” But until you play them, how do you know if they are good enough? Skill is one thing; talent is another – but there is one attribute you cannot display on the training ground, or in the reserves – and that’s the mental toughness to be able to handle playing as a first team pro.

For instance, prior to the CD Nacional game I was discussing Nathan Redmond with my good friend Andy, the head honcho at smallheathalliance.com. We both thought he was good enough to play, but the big question was would Nathan be able to handle the big stage as it were – a first home start, a big game and a sellout crowd. I’m proud enough to say that I told Andy that the youngster would revel in it, and Redmond didn’t let me down. But it’s a massive call to make – I’ve seen other players freeze when they are in the spotlight. For many youngsters, not having that mental drive and ambition to continue improving and build consistency is what stops them from making it as a full pro.

I’m not saying that Blues should throw in the kids for the sake of it. There has to be a certain level of talent to begin with – but – I am a believer that it would be better we developed a player on the fringes of the first team such as Akwasi Asante, than take in another loan striker, like for instance Nile Ranger. As much as Nile Ranger has more experience – 23 sub appearances in the Premier League isn’t to be sniffed at – I think in the long term giving Asante the chance to sit on the bench occasionally instead would be a better option.

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15 Responses to “To Loan Or Not To Loan”

  • Mark says:

    Another great piece on our youngers I consider CH a much better man manager regarding our players. CH gave Andy Carroll shot at Newcastle. The players you mentioned Akwasi, Redmond need to keep setting their standards. CH can get more players in of better quality this will only increase the standard more………….KRO

  • Mark says:

    In your previous response you were not keen on Nile Ranger but if this lad fired us to the championship title would you care……………….

  • Doug says:

    I watched our last game of last season (away v Spurs) in company with some of our youth team coaches, they were very optimistic about both Redmond and Asante. So much so that they believed that we would have survived had AM had the guts to play them both when we had injuries, particulary when CJ was on the pitch but was a passenger for the last 5 or 6 games.
    At times I think a manager has to show that same belief in younger players, give them a run of games and give the player the confidence by expressing that belief in public and in the privacy of the dressing room.
    Redmond has already benefitted from CH having the guts to play him but I fear Asante may not get the same chance, goalscorers being so important to team success so the player with extra experience is always likely to get the nod.

  • Cleggy says:

    I think this is a difficult call to make because of the position we’re looking to reinforce.
    Teams (particularly teams in Blues position) need goals. Desperately. Whilst loaning in a youngster like Ranger might stunt Asante a little, if the lad scores more goals than Asante would I think you have to say its a sacrifice worth making. It’s a very difficult sell to suggest that we should only see this season as a chance to blood youth players as, personally, I feel that with a bit of luck (and a good finisher) we could make the play offs this year.
    Of course I’m not sure that Ranger is destined to score goals for us or not but if C.H thinks he will then I’ll trust him on that.

  • hammy says:

    ladies, dont worry, we’ll be fine once CH finds his best 11….the team settles…and we have 2 decent strikers upfront….
    i expect us to make a charge around xmas…..

  • Bluenosesol says:

    Developing youngsters is a long term commitment, if we have a disastrous season this year, the youngsters will have to look elsewhere. Lets go for promotion and if that means bolstering the squad wih a few seasoned campaigners, then lets do it!

  • Papaulski says:

    We can’t afford to rely on the young players. Asante is no way good enough ATM and needs to go out on loan himself. I don’t even think Redmond should be starting games as in the Championship he’s struggling to make the difference. Jervis for me wont break into the first team. He struggles getting into lower league teams. So out of the youth players I’d keep at the club this season I’d keep Mutch who has only just come into his own and Redmond if he can be managed properly. As an impact sub might be his best role this season. But there’s no shame in him going out on loan. He’s still only a kid. As for players I’d bring in. I’d love to see Lukaku in although that really is a dream but Nile Ranger would be amazing with a view to buying him. He is just the right age and has experience already. Then I’d go looking at Spurs and the Big Four for loans. KRO!!!!

  • Dean Giblin says:

    I think the reserve games are the chance to see if their good enough. Ranger over Asante every time for me for the experience plus CH sees something in him others might not. Plus us fans don’t see them day in/day out so it’s just best if we let CH make all the decisions and stand by him

  • chris says:

    if possible i’d like five or six more loanees to take the squad up to 22 experienced pro’s that can swap between Europe / cup games and league games , with the odd kid on the bench to gain experience in the last 10 mins or so of a game.

  • Dirty Bertie says:

    Bottom line? The manager will play the players HE belives will win the game for him.
    Do we trust him?

  • Mark says:

    Of course CH will play the players he believe will win games because that is what will keep him his job, as regards trusting him a big yes. Attacking football for one, allowing youngers to come in having guts to play them two. just watch this space three……………KRO

  • Bluehobba says:

    Shame we couldnt have offered a one year contract (25k p w) after the sales we had at the end of last month. I think it would have been a good signing

  • Mark says:

    I am please Butland has gone out on loan because he will be the next blues goal keeper, 18 years 6″ 4 and playing for Enland under 21 KRO

  • viperblue says:

    We need bodies!!! CH will I hope pick up someone of the calibere of Cleverly.
    His contacts at Spurs & Newcastle shoud help.
    Also our style of football may interest Wenger & Fergusson

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