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Should more United youngsters follow Sam Graham to the Central Coast?

Academy players from England’s top sides are conventionally sent out on-loan down the English pyramid system, obtaining first-team football at a club in a lower division than their parent club. However, modern football is adapting with more and more young English talents preferring to be sent abroad in a bid for regular football, instead of rocketing down to a league below.

Sheffield United are a club following this trend, currently having three academy prospects out on-loan outside of Britain which leaves the question, is it more effective sending academy players out on-loan abroad?

Sam Graham and Stephen Mallon, both joined the A-League outfit Central Coast Mariners in January and have both been brought directly into the club’s first-team plans. Whilst, Jordan Doherty joined Tampa Bay Rowdies, who are coached by former Blades defender Neil Collins.

Focusing on Graham’s career so far, having developed in United’s Shirecliffe academy since the age of 10, the 18-year-old defender had no knowledge of football outside of Sheffield. Therefore, to give the youngster some valuable first-team experience, Chris Wilder sent him out on-loan to League Two club Oldham Athletic at the start of this current campaign. However failing to impress then manager Frankie Bunn, Graham only managed a handful of league appearances which led to him returning to Bramall Lane early January.

A-League Rd 20 - Central Coast v Brisbane : News Photo

Sam Graham celebrates as the Central Coast Mariners battle back against Brisbane Roar FC

Since then, the young centre-half joined the Australian side, and has managed to print his name on the starting line-up of every league fixture since his arrival. But, not only is Graham receiving consistent first-team football, he is also getting the leisure of experiencing a different countries lifestyle and culture, in conjunction with improving his footballing ability.

In an exclusive interview with Mariners coach Andy Thomson, when asked how Graham and Mallon had fitted into the group, he said: “The boys adapted to the Australian game almost instantly and are always putting in 100% commitment during training.”

“We know their situation, and their desire to play football matches, and so far they’re giving us no reason to sit them out. We obviously don’t have the financial power of some of the other clubs in our league but having a partnership with a big club like Sheffield United is a great asset, and you’ve got to thank Monty for that. I can only see the relationship between the two clubs growing stronger in the coming years.”

Soccer - Hyundai A-League - Central Coast Mariners vs. Queensland Roar : News Photo

The Central Coast Stadium, formerly Bluetongue Stadium

Nonetheless, the Blades aren’t the first British team to capture rewards of having a foreign affiliate, Chelsea have sent several wonderkids over to Vitesse in the Netherlands to attain first-team football. Mason Mount, and Lewis Baker are two examples, who spent a season in Holland, before making their careers back in England, as both players are now enjoying successful spells at Derby and Reading respectively.

On a smaller scale, West-Midlands outfit Wolverhampton Wanderers have recently formed an affiliation with Spanish club FC Jumilla. The Wanderers currently have five of their academy prospects out on-loan there, with the hope these youngsters can gain experience to be able to challenge for a first-team spot back in England.

Former St Mirren coach Thomson also spoke about his beliefs on why younger English talent should take the venture away from England and challenge themselves in an unfamiliar environment.

“I do think more young British players should challenge themselves and move away from Britain if they’re not getting enough first-team chances. Putting yourself out of your comfort zone and trying to adapt to other countries rules and style of play will only help you develop, as I’ve learnt during my time coaching outside of Britain,” Thomson said.

“Learning and getting advise from a number of different coaches can only benefit young players, and especially if the foreign clubs where you are loaned have a similar philosophy like Sheffield United and us, it can only benefit a player when they return back home.”

Categorically, it may start to become a regular occurrence for top-flight British clubs to send their talented academy prospects on-loan to foreign countries, instead of keeping them in a domestic league. Displaying, that it could be more effective for player development, if players are able to gain first-team experiences outside of the English system.

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Jordan Hallam bags on his Chesterfield debut – SUFC LOAN WATCH

Completing an initial one-month loan deal to National League outfit Chesterfield on Friday, young forward Jordan Hallam managed to hit his first goal for the club 41 minutes into his Spireites debut, as eight others feature.

Here’s the full lowdown of this week’s action beginning with the debutant and goal scorer…

Being placed straight into the starting 11, less than 24 hours after signing for the club, Jordan Hallam couldn’t have asked for a better start to life at Chesterfield. Placing a cross from Jerome Binnom-Williams directly into the bottom right-corner, Hallam secured the equalizer for the Spireites as they drew 1-1 away at Eastleigh.

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Glancing over this week’s League One, only two loanees featured, with Ricky Holmes (Oxford United) being ruled out with a back injury, and Samir Carruthers (Oxford United) unable to feature for his side midweek against Forest Green Rovers in the FA Cup, and away at Bradford this weekend.

Enduring the most success, central defender Ben Heneghan started and played another 90 minutes for Blackpool. Being a key member in shutting out Burton at Bloomfield Road, the Seasiders ran away with a convincing 3-0 victory.

Making his 14th league appearance for Fleetwood, former Wales International Ched Evans lacked cutting edge in front of goal, despite causing danger for Plymouths defence. Evans had his chance to gift Fleetwood the lead early into the second half, although Plymouth capitalised on his missed chances, and went on to win the fixture 2-1.

Additionally, three loanees featured for League Two clubs this weekend, with Caolan Lavery (Bury FC) still ruled out of action due to injury, and Sam Graham (Oldham Athletic) unable to appear off the bench against Tranmere Rovers.

Reaping the rewards from a fantastic month, on-loan at Tranmere Harvey Gilmour was named EFL Young Player of the Month. During the month of October, Gilmour scored three goals including an emphatic 89th minute winner against Morecombe, as well as assisting one goal, and confirming his name consistently in the Tranmere starting eleven.

https://twitter.com/TranmereRovers/status/1065955102903668736

Playing another 90 minutes for the Rovers midweek, Gilmour again helped marshal their midfield, as they knocked out Oxford City 2-1, in the first round of the FA Cup. However, in a 1-1 draw against Oldham, Gilmour was rested despite his fantastic current form.

On-loan at Carlisle United, Regan Slater pulled off another Man of the Match performance, despite his side narrowly losing 2-1 at home to Forest Green. An early opportunity from Slater nearly gave the Cumbrians the lead, however his shot angled slightly over the bar, which opened

Subsequently, Nathan Thomas played 90 minutes for Notts County, although he was unable to make any sort of impact, as County drew 1-1 away at Morecombe.

Looking outside of the Football League, Tyler Smith and Rhys Norrington-Davies both started for Barrow AFC in a 20 win away at Aldershot. Whilst, Norrington-Davies had a quiet game, Smith on the other hand caused havoc for the entirely for the first half, leaving Aldershot’s goalkeeper Will Mannion stranded as he slotted the ball into the bottom right-corner in the 27th minute.

In addition, David Parkhouse didn’t feature for Boston United as they defeated Ashton United 5-0 in the FA Trophy third qualifying round.

Finally, Callum Semple on-loan at Queen of the South in the Scottish Championship, was subbed on late into their impressive 4-1 victory over Formartine United, which saw them into the fourth round of the Scottish Cup.

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Slater scores twice, as Carlisle breeze past Swindon – SUFC LOAN WATCH

Enduring a tough start to life at Brunton Park, 19-year old midfielder Regan Slater finally found his shooting boots at the weekend, as nine other United loanees featured.

Here’s the full lowdown of this weekend’s action, beginning with the goalscorer…

Starting the game away at Swindon Town, Slater took his first goal in the 46th minute, as he laced the ball into the top right corner from just inside the box, following a headed knock down from Ashley Nadeson. He then tipped the icing on the cake for John Sheridan’s side, scoring his second of the game, and Carlisle’s fourth, with another right-footed strike which was firmly finished into the bottom right corner.

Continuing his fine form for Oxford United, Winger Ricky Holmes again showed his quality at League One level. Being a constant threat in front of goal, Holmes was able to contribute in the U’s 1-0 home victory against Gillingham. Also, on-loan at Oxford United, Samir Carruthers was not featured in the 18 man squad.

Moving forward, former Wales international Ched Evans was unable to make a difference in Fleetwood’s home tie against Walsall. Being substituted on for Wes Burns in the 59th minute, Evans never really got into the game, which finished a 0-0 bore draw.

In addition, being utilised in a back-three for the first time this campaign, Ben Heneghan was able to deny Sam Mantom a chance on goal, with a last ditch tackle early in the first half. Overall, Heneghan was capable enough to solidify Blackpool’s defence enough for them to secure a 2-1 away win at Southend United.

Paying attention to this week’s League Two action, alongside Slater, two others featured with neither of them entertaining much collective success.

Firstly, on-loan at Notts County Nathan Thomas played the entire 90 minutes, as his side were emphatically dismantled at home by Cheltenham. Furthermore, midfielder Harvey Gilmour was enable to deliver any cutting edge which may have given Tranmere Rovers the difference during their 3-2 away defeat in the hands of Crewe Alexandra.

On the other hand, Sam Graham was able to watch his side Oldham Athletic push over Cambridge United in a 3-1 victory. Although, this was done from the bench, as Graham yet again was an unused substitute for the Latics.

Trying to overlook the National League, Tyler Smith and Rhys Norrington-Davies both had a miserable weekend on-loan at Barrow AFC. Both starting the game, and finishing 90 minutes, the Bluebirds were inhilated 3-0 at home to Eastleigh.

Even further down the English pyramid, under-18 England International Marcus Dewhurst again pulled off some incredible saves, as Gainsborough Trinity punished Whitby Town 4-1. Differently, on-loan at Boston United David Parkhouse had to watch his side lose 2-1 in the hands of Southport FC, from the bench as he was an unused sub.

Outside of England, young central defender Callum Semple featured in a six-goal thriller for Queen of South. In a game which ended 3-3, Qos had a blistering start to the game leading 3-0 going into the 65th minute. However, a lapse of concentration from Semple and his defensive peers allowed Inverness back into game, which only ended in tears after such a dominant first half performance.

 

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David Parkhouse makes his Boston United debut – SUFC LOAN WATCH

Signing an initial one-month youth loan deal for Boston United at the start of the week, Northern Ireland under-21 forward David Parkhouse made his first appearance for the Pilgrims, as nine other United loanees featured. 

Here’s the full lowdown of this week’s action, starting with the debutant…

Making his debut in a disastrous 3-1 loss to Brackley Town, Parkhouse was brought into the game as a late sub, and was unable to spur a Boston comeback. Moving to the weekend’s fixture, the 19-year old was again introduced from the bench, as he replaced former Blade Jordan Slew in a 1-1 draw away at Ashton United.

Overlooking this week’s League One action, three loanees featured, with none of them cherishing much individual or collective success.

On-loan at Oxford United, Ricky Holmes endured a fantastic start away at Scunthorpe, as the U’s took an impressive 3-0 lead, with Holmes linking up well with goalscorer James Henry in the build up of the first goal. Unfortunately for Oxford, the game fell out of their hands late into the second half, as the Iron made a magnificent comeback to equalise the game at 3-3. Failing to even feature on the bench, Samir Carruthers also on-loan at Oxford, didn’t play.

Additionally, in a game which the entire Fleetwood team will be wanting to forget, Welsh forward Ched Evans missed their only clear cut chance of the game. Heading the ball narrowly over Tomas Holy’s goal, in a 3-0 defeat away at Gillingham.

Suffering the same amount of pain, on-loan at Blackpool. Ben Heneghan played the entire 90 minutes, as his side were dismantled 3-0 against Bristol Rovers at Bloomfield Road.

Moving forward, on-loan at Carlisle United, Regan Slater featured off the bench as his side battled back late. As, Danny Grainger’s 92nd minute winner gave the Cumbrians all three points, as they defeated Newport County 3-2 at Brunton Park.

Harvey Gilmour, on-loan at Tranmere also helped consolidate his side’s 2-0 lead at home to Exeter, replacing attacking midfielder Larnell Cole in the 74th minute.

Moreover, defender Sam Graham (Oldham AFC) and winger Nathan Thomas (Notts County) were both named in the match day squads for their teams respectively, but both were unused substitutes.

Outside of the football league, Tyler Smith and Rhys Norrington-Davies both featured midweek for Barrow AFC against Harrogate Town. Both starting the game, Smith was able to score his 7th league goal of the campaign. However, his effort only proved to be a consolation goal, as Barrow lost the game 4-2.

In addition, Norrington-Davies again started for Barrow in a 1-0 defeat to the hands of Ebbsfleet. Unfortunately for Smith, he saw himself on the sidelines for this fixture due to fitness.

Furthermore, England under-18 International goalkeeper Marcus Dewhurst featured twice for non-league outfit Gainsborough Trinity. Firstly, in a horrendous FA Trophy replay 3-0 defeat to Tamworth, followed by a more respectable 1-1 draw away at Stafford Rangers.

To round off this week’s action, on-loan at Scottish Championship side Queen of South, Callum Semple faced defeat twice in one week. The first coming in a 2-1 loss at home against Greenock Morton, and the second being a 2-0 defeat away at Dundee United.

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“Best on the pitch again” – Ricky Holmes lauded after MOTM performance – SUFC LOAN WATCH

Another sub-standard week of action for Sheffield United’s loanees, made it effortless for attacking midfielder Ricky Holmes to steal the headlines following his Man of the Match performance at home to Shrewsbury. 

Ten loanees featured throughout the week, with Caolan Lavery (Bury FC) still ruled out due to injury, and Sam Graham (Oldham AFC) failing to even make an appearance off the bench.

Here’s the full lowdown of this week’s action, starting with Holmes…

The 31-year old began the week with a visit back to his former club Charlton Athletic, in which his current club Oxford United, came from behind to secure an unlikely 1-1 draw. Holmes enjoyed a strong individual performance at the Valley, as he completed more dribbles than any other player on the field, and almost levelled for the visitors on the brink of half-time, but narrowly missed the target.

Moving forward, Holmes again started for Oxford, as his team welcomed Shrewsbury to the Kassam Stadium. During the game, his work rate and creativity showed dividends, as many Oxford fans tagged him the ‘MOTM’ despite not getting himself on the scoresheet. The game ended 3-0 in the U’s favour.

Also, on-loan at Oxford United, Samir Carruthers didn’t receive the same number of plaudits. Making his only appearance of the week off the bench against Charlton replacing Holmes in the 93rd minute.

On-loan at Fleetwood Town, Ched Evans was unable to create any clear-cut chances, as his side lost 1-0 away at Peterborough United. However, his fortunes changed at the weekend, as Fleetwood beat Blackpool for the first time in the club’s history thanks to a 3-2 win at Highbury. Linking up well with Wes Burns and Ashley Hunter all game, Evans was an influential figure in the club’s historic win.

On the other hand, on-loan at Blackpool, Ben Heneghan played the entire 90 minutes in his side’s 3-2 loss to Fleetwood and doing so failed to maintain the direct and pacey threat which Ashley Hunter deployed. Furthermore, the central defender didn’t feature for the Seasiders’ 1-0 victory over Scunthorpe midweek.

Additionally, there were three loanees in action during this week’s League Two fixtures, and unfortunately none of them relished in much success.

Enduring another miserable week, Nathan Thomas failed to make an impact in both of his games, featuring off the bench in Notts County’s 2-1 loss to MK Dons midweek, and their 2-1 defeat to Swindon Town at the weekend.

Making a comeback to the first team, Regan Slater on-loan at Carlisle, was played out of position as a part of the Cumbrians back four against Lincoln City, in a game which ended a 2-2 draw. However, moving back into his favoured central midfield position, Slater was forced out in a midfield battle against Yeovil’s Sessi D’Almeida, which led to his side losing 1-0 at Brunton Park.

Finalizing the League Two action, Harvey Gilmour had to deal with as with a 3-1 loss to Forest Green Rovers, as his side Tranmere Rovers failed to obtain any momentum against their old non-league rivals. Despite this, Tranmere were raring to go in their weekend fixture against Crawley, as they emphatically won the game 5-1, with Gilmour making a short appearance off the bench.

Looking outside of the football league, Tyler Smith, and Rhys Norrington-Davies both featured in Barrow AFC’s 2-0 defeat against Barnet. Whilst, defender Callum Semple was subbed on late into the second half, as his side Queen of the South decisively saw off Falkirk 2-0 in the Scottish Championship.

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Smith again shines for Barrow, as eight Blades feature – SUFC LOAN WATCH

In what was an underwhelming weekend of action for Sheffield United’s loanees, 19-year old forward Tyler Smith stole the headlines as he continued his great form at Barrow AFC. 

Eight loanees featured this weekend, with Ricky Holmes (Oxford United), and Caolan Lavery (Bury FC) both ruled out due to injury.

Here’s the full lowdown on all the action, starting with the goalscorer…

Despite Barrow narrowly losing 3-2 to the hands of Chorley in the fourth qualifying round of the FA Cup, young forward Smith again boasted his eye of goal.

Scoring his seventh goal of the season in all competitions, Smith’s impressive first half performance handed Barrow a 2-0 lead going into the second half. However, unfortunately for the Barrow loyal, Smith’s first half efforts wasn’t enough to put the game to bed, as Chorley battled back and managed to complete an emphatic comeback.

Also out on-loan at Barrow, Rhys Norrington-Davies started and played 90 minutes against Chorley. However, his performance didn’t warrant the same amount of praise from manager Ian Evatt.

In fact, an all around poor performance from the inexperienced fullback, was rounded off with him getting booked late in the game for an unnecessary off the ball incident.

Additionally, there were three loanees in action during this weekend’s League One fixtures, and disappointingly none of them enjoyed much collective or individual success.

Replacing Jason Holt midway through the second half, Ched Evans failed to help Fleetwood scavenge any points, as Joey Barton’s side were easily beaten by league leaders Portsmouth.

On-loan at Oxford United, Samir Carruthers struggled to make any impact as his side drew 0-0 away at Bristol Rovers.

The best collective outing came for central defender Ben Heneghan, who came off the bench to help maintain Blackpool’s 2-0 lead at home to AFC Wimbledon.

Overlooking League Two action, Nathan Thomas had a miserable weekend, as he had to first hand witness his club Notts County get dispatched 4-0 to promotion battlers Bury.

Moreover, starting for Tranmere away at Yeovil, Harvey Gilmour had a steady defensive performance, but failed to create any danger in front of goal. As, he was substituted in the 61st minute, in a game which ended 0-0.

In other League Two fixtures, Sam Graham at Oldham, and Regan Slater at Carlisle, both had to watch their sides from the bench, not making any first team minutes this weekend.

To conclude, Callum Semple currently on-loan at Scottish Championship outfit Queen of the South, made a short appearance of the bench, as his team were successful on the road as they beat Dunfermline Athletic 1-0.