Ryan Bertrand has been one of our most consistent players out on loan. He is well regarded at Norwich and has made the leftback spot his own. He was impressive in his loan spell last season and has picked up from where he left. During the last two seasons, he has slowly worked his way up the England ranks from the U17s to U19s and now he has been called up by Stuart Pearce for the U21s. He would face competition there from Middlesborough’s Andrew Taylor but having dislodged Joe Mattock from the U19 starting eleven, I don’t think it would be much harder. The key thing for him would be to keep on delivering consistent performances for Norwich while he is there and I am sure he would get the nod. Norwich fans believe he could easily make the step up to the premier league and has the right attitude and ability to carve out a name for himself. We could only hope it’s true.
Jimmy Smith injured himself in the pre-season but he has returned back to fitness and figured in a few games for the Owls. He hasn’t been anything close to impressive so far for Owls and hasn’t lasted a full league game. He would have to pick up his game and deliver some good performances otherwise he would be back on the bench. Championship is a hard division and there are no easy games. I don’t think he has a future at Chelsea but for his career I think it is very important that he makes a good impression in this loan spell.
Slobodan Rajkovic went to the Olympics to represent Serbia in the football tournament. His team couldn’t get past the group stages but he had a good tournament. He scored the equlalizer in their first game against Australia but in the next game against Ivory Coast he proved to be a villain as he headed back into his own net. He is still quiet young and learning his trade and going by that it would be fair to say that he had a good tournament. His involvement for Serbia ruled him out for the first leg of Twente’s Champions League qualifier against Arsenal. He was back for the second leg and came on as a substitute towards the end of the game but his team was already 6-0 down by that time. The Dutch Erdivisie kicked off this weekend and Rajkovic’s name was on the teamsheet but he was not brought on as he saw his team draw 1-1 with Roda JC.
Ben Sahar has not featured in any of the competitive games for Portsmouth this season though he has made the bench a few times. I was sceptic about his chances at Pompey back then and from the look of how things have gone I doubt he would get more than an odd game or two. May be when the UEFA Cup games start, he would get a game here and there in the league but that is a big ‘may be’. His chances of playing in the Carling Cup are already dashed as Pompey have drawn us so unless we lose there is no chance he would play in that competition. The FA Cup 3rd round games would start in January and by that time his loan spell would be over unless it is extended so it would take some optimism to believe this loan move is going to do any good to his development.
Shaun Cummings moved to MK Dons, managed by the Chelsea duo of Di Matteo and Newton on a month long loan. His first game for them, when he came on as a sub, was enough to impress the MK Dons faithful that this boy has talent and has got what it takes to compete at this level; his loan move was subsequently extended till the end of this year. He is a versatile player and has featured at left back as well as left wing for MK Dons and has become a regular starter for them in the last few matches.
Jack Cork moved to Southampton on loan this month and has already won the hearts of Saints supporters in his two appearances. He started at rightback in his first game when he came on as a sub and later in the week made his full debut playing in the heart of defence. Some said he was the next Alan Hansen and that is a big compliment for a player of his age. He was not in the starting lineup for the last league game against Blackpool as Southampton lost 1-0. His presence was sorely missed if you go by what the Southamton fans think so it won’t come as a surprise if Jan Poortvliet gives him a start in the next match.
Lee Sawyer moved to Southend United this month on a 3 month long loan deal. Unfortunately he has seen his team losing out in both the games he played in. His performance hasn’t gone unnoticed though. In the last league game, Southend fans were unanimous in their view that Sawyer was the best player for them. He stuck in everytime and always looked hungry for the ball. Injuries have disrupted his development in the last two years so a good loan spell would kickstart his career once again.
Tom Taiwo has been a regular feature for U18’s last season and also made a few appearances for the reserves. His loan move to Port Vale came as a bit of surprise to everyone but as it is a month long deal so it would be interesting to see how it all pans out. Taiwo has worked with Sinnott, the Vale gaffer before when he was at Leeds so he was quiet enthused by this opportunity. He came on as a sub in the last game and gave a tidy performance. It might be a co-incidence but two Vale goals came on just after he entered the match. I am sure there is a lot more to come from him.