February 9, 2012
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Currently we have the following players out on loan:
Steven Caulker – Swansea City (season)
Kyle Naughton – Norwich City (season)
Steven Pienaar – Everton (season)
Sebastian Bassong – Wolves (season)
David Button – Doncaster (March 1st)
Andros Townsend – Leeds (season)
Adam Smith – Leeds (season)
Yago Falque – Southampton (season)
Tom Carroll – Derby (season)
Ryan Mason – Millwall (season)
Harry Kane – Millwall (season)
Nathan Byrne – Bournemouth (season)
Jon Obika – Yeovil Town (season)
Dean Parrett Yeovil Town (season)
John Bostock – Sheffield Wednesday (season)
Jordan Archer – Bishop’s Stortford
Vedran Corluka – Bayer Leverkusen (season)
Mirko Ranieri – FC Esperia Viareggio (season)
Kudus Oyenuga – St Johnstone (season)
Oscar Jansson – Bradford City
Kudus Oyenuga – Bury
David Bentley – West Ham
Ryan Mason – Doncaster
Simon Dawkins – San Jose Earthquakes
Jermaine Jenas – Aston Villa
Ben Alnwick – Leyton Orient
David Button – Leyton Orient
Bongani Khumalo – Reading
Adam Smith – MK Dons
Keeping track of all of our loanees has turned into a full-time job, with nineteen players currently out on loan, not including Jenas who was ruled out for the season in December, and Bentley, who has also returned to Spurs to receive treatment (and who could, incidentally be fit within a matter of weeks).
Since his return from injury in December, Steven Caulker has been one of Swansea City’s most impressive and consistent performers, and has now started thirteen games for them – they’ve kept five clean sheets in that time.
From his first game for the Swans, Steven Caulker has been solid. He slots in very nicely next to Ashley Williams and has been one of the first on the team sheet all season. He is strong and consistently solid the air. The only blemish was his brush with the police earlier in the season, but his on field performance makes up for it. He seems happy to stay with Swansea after the summer; something we all hope will happen as he would leave a very big hole to fill.
Like Caulker, Kyle Naughton has been putting in consistently good performances for Norwich City. He has played primarily at right back, but has also had a couple of matches at left back, and even played as an emergency centre back this weekend after both of their regular CBs had come off injured. He has now made twenty starts and one substitute appearance for City. Below are some comments on Naughton from two Norwich fans.
Firstly, my friend and City season ticket holder Luke Bell (@soulwaxer on Twitter):
Like so many of his team-mates, Kyle Naughton has been hugely impressive in the first half of this season. After a slightly shaky pre-season, he swiftly won over the Norwich fans with a run of strong defensive performances and a promising attacking partnership with Elliott Bennett in front of him. Most would agree that he has now established himself as Norwich’s first-choice right-back; an impressive achievement given he ousted Russell Martin from that position, who played every minute of the Championship promotion campaign. A series of injuries to other players has seen him switched to left-back, where he’s been equally efficient defensively, although perhaps not quite so threatening going forward. Against Bolton he was even employed as a makeshift centre-back for the majority of the game, where he coped superbly with the physical threat of Ngog and Davies.
Paul Lambert has made it clear that he’d like to keep Naughton on a permanent deal; most Norwich fans will be hoping that the club can come up with a deal to make it happen.
How much for him? Seriously. How much? Let’s start negotiating now because he’s surely our number one target this summer.
Kyle has been brilliant for Norwich so far this season, a season in which we have exceeded everyone’s expectations. Like the majority of the team, Kyle came to us with little Premier League experience but has looked at home. After missing the first match of the season, he stepped in at right back and has made the position his own; a tough ask when going up against crowd favourite and last year’s Player of the Season runner up, Russell Martin. Kyle’s performances have been solid, with only a couple of dips against Villa and Blackburn. Otherwise he has been excellent defensively; a tough job when we frequently play a diamond formation that leaves fullbacks exposed. He’s shown a certain maturity and composure that you might not have expected, and is comfortable wherever he’s asked to play. He’s stepped in at left back several times this season and was arguably man of the match in that position against Fulham, and most recently covered at centre back against Bolton and put in another assured, quality performance. He seems to pass Lambert’s character test and is trusted across the back line. Most of us wanted him secured in the January window but that was always unlikely with what appears to be a hefty asking price. Nevertheless, once we secure Premier League status for another year, the topic will come up again. With Kyle Walker deservedly securing his place in the Spurs defence, Naughton will want to play games rather than be his friends’ backup. At this point I hope both clubs can agree a deal that sees Spurs adequately paid and Norwich getting a fullback with years ahead of him.
Steven Pienaar made his second debut for Everton this weekend, playing on the left of a 4-4-1-1 in their 1-1 draw with Wigan. Pienaar hinted after the match that he could look to stay at Everton beyond the loan.
“There were other options but, for me, coming back here was the simple thing to do. When [Harry Redknapp] asked me where I wanted to go I said I just want to go to Everton.
At the moment, let me focus on the first few months here and just get playing and see what happens in the summer.
It’s until the end of the season and I just have to make sure I make the most of this for a few months and in the summer we can talk about my future.
I’m an open minded person – I’ve always been open minded. It doesn’t matter what happens but the most important thing is that in these next few months I do my best for the squad.”
Sebastian Bassong made his debut at centre back for Wolves, and this Wolves blog summed up his debut as follows:
“Speaking of new signings, Sebastian Bassong was correctly given his debut and although Zamora outmuscled him to toe poke them into the lead, I thought the on-loan Spurs man acquitted himself well.
I’m a bigger fan of Berra than most but the pace off the ball and composure on it that Bassong brought to the back four were notable.”
Having made a couple of appearances for Leyton Orient earlier in the season (before succumbing to injury), 22-year old goalkeeper David Button was sent to Doncaster at the start of January. He has made five appearances, keeping three clean sheets – a remarkable record thus far – and he impressed manager Dean Saunders in their away draw at Hull:
“David made some great saves and I couldn’t ask for more from the lads.”
Paul Goodwin @paulgoodwinDFP, a Sports writer at Doncaster Free Press tweeted the following to me:
“Influential in keeping 3 clean sheets out of last 4. Good shot stopper, confident, calming influence. Only weakness: kicking.”
Since moving to Leeds at the beginning of January, Andros Townsend has made five starts, including one away at Arsenal in the FA Cup, but was only on the bench this weekend. He had a terrific start for Leeds in their match against Burnley, being fouled twice by full back Kieran Trippier, leading to his dismissal.
I had been asked by the editor to give my opinion on the two Tottenham youngsters currently on loan at Elland Road, I gladly offered the following;
Unfortunately, my views on the young full back are limited as I haven’t actually seen him play yet. By all accounts his debut was impressive at Bristol on Saturday and apparently he would have been MOM had Aston Villa’s (on loan) Fabian Delph not excelled himself. It is worth noting though that Bristol played the final 30 mins with 9 men. Hopefully he can take that form into this Saturday and I can give a real opinion on him then.
His debut was sensational. He ran Burnley ragged, resulting in the dismissal of the opposing full back after just half an hour (yes lots of opponents get sent off at the minute, 5 in the last 5 matches!)!
One thing that stands out for me is his ability to overcome the main criticism that is levelled at young wide men; delivery and final pass. Plenty of wingers are eye-gougingly frustrating with their killer pass, there is at least a couple in North London… Andros does seem to have grasped this skill.
Whilst he is yet to replicate his debut heroics and didn’t get off the bench in the last game, I can’t help feeling that he’d be a far better player in a better team. Hopefully the effect of a new manager will give him and the squad a lift.
It is worth noting that Simon Grayson was very fond of wingers, whether Neil Redfearn or a subsequent new manager will be as keen is anybody’s guess.
Thanks for the opportunity. Let me also offer my sympathies over the impending departure on Harry Redknapp. Hopefully you can still gate crash the top 3.
Adam Smith joined Andros at Leeds recently and made his debut in last weekend’s game. He had an outstanding first half of the season at Milton Keynes Dons under the tutelage Karl Robinson, who is used to working with young players having previously worked at Liverpool’s Academy. Smith made 22 starts for MK Dons, playing as a very attacking full back. He scored two goals, both superb long-range efforts, and his good performances helped him to force his way into the England U21 squad.
Having signed Yago Falque permanently, we immediately sent him on loan to Southampton. He played 55 minutes of their draw with Leicester, was an unused substitute in their next game, but wasn’t involved in last weekend’s match against Birmingham, or their cup game against Millwall (for which he was cup-tied).
Tom Carroll made a scoring start to his Derby County career with a late goal. It was only a consolation though, as they were 3-1 down with seconds to go. You can watch the goal here, at 1:40.
Tom Carroll joined Derby in unusual circumstances. He was signed on a half-season loan to replace Paul Green, who had been made available for transfer after failing to agree a new contract. Green was duly left out of the squad on transfer deadline day, as the Rams travelled to Barnsley, but no move transpired. Carroll is therefore left to fight for his place against four other midfielders – two box-to-box types (Green and Craig Bryson), a technically-adept holding midfielder (James Bailey) and Ireland U’21 Jeff Hendrick, who is also more of a passer than a bruiser by nature.
With Green out for the Barnsley game, Hendrick replaced him on the right side of midfield, with Carroll slotting into the centre alongside Bryson, in place of Bailey. Unfortunately, Barnsley’s midfield three totally swamped Derby’s 4-4-2 and the Rams were 2-0 down in the blink of an eye. Nigel Clough then changed the formation to match the Tykes up in the middle of the park, but by that time, the horse had bolted and Barnsley, with their tails up, scored a splendid third goal before settling down and enjoying the rest of the half.
At the interval, a cricket score looked wholly plausible, but pretty much from the start of the second half, Derby managed to claw their way back into the game. Carroll, who cut a forlorn figure in the first half, saw far more of the ball and started to show what he can do; he is a clever, technically smart schemer with the ability to pick a pass.
Derby got a goal back through Ward and with Barnsley on the back foot, Carroll got into the box and pirouetted away from a defender, who blatantly cleaned him out, only for the referee to signal for a corner. Had that decision gone Derby’s way, with about 15 minutes to go, you can’t help but feel that the Rams would have gone on to grab an equaliser. As it was, Carroll’s injury-time goal, poached from closish range after a poor clearance from the goalkeeper was pounced on by Hendrick, was too little too late.
A lot of Derby fans are prejudiced against a midfield three system – 4-5-1, as it is pejoratively known – perceiving any such formation as automatically ‘negative’.
Carroll could be the clever linking midfielder who makes sense of a 4-3-3 at Pride Park, especially as we have two players – Ward and Tyson – who could operate effectively as wide forwards. Such a system would certainly suit Carroll better than 4-4-2, as it usually leads to more midfield possession, with the team building from the back more often than quickly hitting the frontmen.
There is plenty of competition for places, so Carroll will have to play well to justify his place in the team – if he does so, it’ll benefit Derby in the short-term and Spurs in the long-term.
Harry Kane moved to Millwall at the start of January for the remainder of the season, and scored his first goals against Dagenham and Redbridge in the FA Cup. He has now made eight starts and one substitute appearance, and was a part of the side that won 3-2 away at Southampton in Tuesday’s FA Cup win.
Some decent comments on Kane from the Millwall forum after last weekend’s match:
“Kane is far better than anything we have bar Henderson and now Keogh.”
“Kane looked good when he came on.”
“Kane has a first touch and wins headers.”
Ryan Mason has joined Kane at Millwall having not been given too many opportunities under Dean Saunders at Doncaster, mostly owing to constant injury problems. He made his debut against Watford in the league, and came off the bench in their weekend defeat against West Ham as they chased an equaliser. He was widely criticised on Millwall forums after his debut, but it is worth remembering that this was his first game at this level for nearly three months having had more niggling injuries. He had a much improved match against Southampton in the FA Cup, but should have put them 2-0 up when through one-on-one with the goalkeeper.
Nathan Byrne is due back soon for Bournemouth after overcoming a very nasty injury.
Jonathan Obika has been a regular for Yeovil Town since returning from injury at the end of November. He has now started thirteen times and made two substitute appearances, scoring twice, including a fantastic bicycle kick against Charlton on Boxing Day. Whilst his scoring record doesn’t look good on paper, Yeovil do not score many goals as a team, and Obika’s overall performances have been good.
Dean Parrett joined Jonathan at Yeovil Town in mid February, signing initially on a one month loan. He has already started four times for them claiming an assist on his debut vs Tranmere. His loan has now been extended for the rest of the season.
Jon has had a season that has been severely interrupted by injury, although he is just beginning to show signs of the form he displayed during his earlier loan spells. His two goals this season have both arrived since Christmas, and his bicycle kick against Charlton was a display of technique often missing in strikers at our level.
That said, he remains frustrating. His work rate is often the source of terrace jeering, and whilst he remains our best natural finisher, his off the ball work is at best reactive, and sometimes plain not good enough; he often doesn’t make the ‘right’ runs and never seems to be very good at anticipating how play will develop. This is something that can be taught though, and perhaps another good half season at Yeovil will begin to see Jon realise his potential.
Dean on the other hand, appears to have arrived at Huish Park almost as the finished article; so much so that I find it amazing that Spurs have today announced that he’ll spend the rest of the season here. He has gelled fantastically with one of our brightest talents, Ed Upson, and fans have been waxing lyrical about the similarities with a club legend, Darren Way, in his tigrish approach and eye for a pass and goal.
Yeovil’s recent upturn in results and performances have occurred since Dean joined the club, and it’s no coincidence. Like Ryan Mason and Steven Caulker before him, he’s been fantastic.
John Bostock joined Sheffield Wednesday for the remainder of the season at the end of the transfer window, and came off the bench to make his debut on the 31st. He started this weekend’s game against Yeovil, and below are some comments from a Sheffield Wednesday forum:
“Lightweight, but very early days, and not a day to judge a player. Seems to want to come inside all the time, as opposed to playing wide. When teams park the bus, we need width. “
“I think he looked decent and can pass the ball well. A couple of times he played some lovely balls in the second half. I think he’ll turn out to be a decent signing. “
“He was quiet and a bit disappointing today, after seeing him at MK, but as said above, it’s still very early days.
He’s clearly not a winger but a central player, so he’s got some adapting to do if Meggo insists on playing him wide.”
“Yeah , looks more comfortable inside.
A bit lethargic and off the pace first half but played some intelligent passes second.”
“His crossing needs to improve considerably if he is going to take every set piece”
“Thought he played OK today. Has a languid style, but has good ball control. Didn’t hide, always tried to be involved. Think if Megson can get him to be more confident generally and encourage him to be more authoritative and start dictating the play, I think we could have a really good player for the rest of the season. I think though he’ll be more effective in the centre alongside Semedo than out wide, because he doesn’t seem pacey enough to play on the flank. “
Wednesday manager Gary Megson seems to know what he’s getting, commenting on him after his debut:
“He showed his talent when he ran with the ball from his own half. He’s really languid on the ball and has great touch and control. He’s got to find a way of applying himself so he can have a lot more impact on the game than ordinarily he might do.
We have central midfield players who are very good at tackling, or closing down, or running forward with the ball, or picking a pass; John is a bit different – he can play wide or in the middle.”
Jordan Archer has had a decent spell at Bishop’s Stortford since joining them in October (when Ian Walker was still their manager!).
I contacted the Sports Editor from the ‘Herts and Essex Observer‘, Alan Scott, and he kindly gave me his opinion on Jordan:
I’ve only seen him twice but I’ve been really impressed with him.
He’s got great reflexes and is a good shot stopper.
He make some mistakes but then he is very young, that will come with experience.
He’s also quite brave which is very useful for a keeper – especially playing in this league against some big old Northern lumps.
David Rimmer, another reporter from the same paper was also generous enough to give me his take on Jordan’s appearances so far:
I would say on the games I have seen is that Jordan Archer is a very good shot stopper.
He is very good at keeping out shots which are bound for the top of the goal and has made quite a few acrobatic tip overs.
However he needs to improve on collecting crosses but this will come with experience. He has height and in time will become a very good keeper but whether he will make it right to the top I am not sure. For his age he is not bad at commanding his box.
I would say he was not as good as a previous outstanding young keeper that Stortford had in Rob Elliott. He played in the first part of the 2004/05 season and I believe he is now at Newcastle.
Vedran Corluka made his Bayer Leverkusen debut in a 2-2 with VfB Stuttgart, and one of his crosses led to a goal.
Mirko Ranieri was an unused sub as FC Esperia Viareggio drew 0-0 with Taranto – he had been starting regularly for them until recently, but seems to have lost his place in the team.
Kudus Oyenuga was an unused sub for St Johnstone in their 1-1 draw with Hearts, and will be hoping to make his debut soon after scoring for their reserves last week. The St Johnstone website featured a nice interview with him last week:
KUDUS GEARED UP TO AID SCOTTISH CUP CAMPAIGN IF NEEDED New loan signing Kudus Oyenuga is looking forward to spending the rest of his season with Saints and is ready to contribute to our Scottish Cup cause against Hearts on Sunday if required.
Striker Kudus joined Saints on loan from Spurs at the end of last month and made an immediate impression with a goal in a closed door game against Motherwell on Tuesday.
Before heading off to train with the rest of the squad in Alloa this morning, the eighteen year old told the Saints Official Website: “It’s been a good week for me. I had a training session with the younger boys on Monday followed by the game against Motherwell on Tuesday and I managed to get myself a goal which was pleasing. I’ve not had many minutes of football recently so it was very worthwhile.”
The Londoner met up with the first team players on Wednesday at a go-karting session in Cambuslang arranged by Steve Lomas to gather the squad together post-transfer window and although he didn’t shine on the track he thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon.
“Don’t ask me about the karting! Let’s just say I wasn’t troubling the top of the leaderboard! But it was really good to meet the boys, they are lovely people and I can tell there is a good team spirit.”
With international clearance obtained, Kudus can feature in Sunday’s televised cup encounter at Tynecastle if required and it may well be that he and fellow new loan recruit James Keatings from Celtic are the men selected to fill the requirement of having two Under 21 players in the stripped outfield squad.
Kudus says: “The Gaffer has been cool with me and told me to work hard and see what it brings myself and the club. I’m used to working hard and I’m ready to be involved if asked on Sunday.”
Clearly struggling with the minus five temperature Perth endured this morning Kudus concluded: “The only thing that has surprised me is the cold but give me a week and I’ll be used to it and wearing a t-shirt!”
A big thank you to all of the contributors to this article:
Luke Bell (@soulwaxer on Twitter)
The editor of the Dirty Leeds blog (@DirtyLeedsBlog on Twitter)
Chris Carra from the ForzaSwansea blog (@ForzaSwansea on Twitter)
Holtamania blog (@Holtamania on Twitter):
David Rimmer and Alan Scott from Herts and Essex Observer
Vyse (@vyseofhr on Twitter) from Green And White Blog
Paul Goodwin (@paulgoodwinDFP on Twitter), a Sports writer at Doncaster Free Press