Another season has passed, with many players being loaned out for various different reasons; some to showcase their talents for a permanent move, some to improve while gaining experience and some to show that they are ready for a place in the Tottenham first team. There have been a lot of impressive loan stars, but on the flip side there have been that look destined for an exit from Tottenham permanently, and I’m going to give my verdict on whether they are ready for Tottenham, need another loan spell or should be sent packing on a new adventure.
Grant Hall – Championship – Birmingham & Blackpool. The 23-year-old central defender played a part in two struggling Championship sides, and didn’t really establish himself in either as a key player. Under Lee Clark at both Blackpool and Birmingham it looked as though Clark liked Hall, as after being sacked from his managerial role at Birmingham he made sure he took the defender in his new role at the Tangerines but it didn’t really help them defensively, as Birmingham improved after the departure of Clark and Hall, and Blackpool continued to concede a shed load. He only made nine appearances for Birmingham before moving to Blackpool where he made 12 appearances, getting on the score sheet once. After moving to Spurs from Brighton Hall hasn’t made an appearance for Tottenham and at 23 I don’t see him getting to that level after three unsuccessful loan spells at Swindon, Birmingham & Blackpool. It’d be best for Grant Hall to find another club on a permanent basis in my view, possibly at a Championship club.
Kenneth McEvoy – Peterborough & Colchester – League One. The 20-year-old winger was unfortunate to only gain nine appearances across his two loan spells this season, netting once for Peterborough but not scoring for Colchester as he was unluckily on the bench and wasn’t given a run of games in either the Peterborough or Colchester sides. After being called back early because of a lack of game time at Peterborough, and being given the opportunity at Colchester for more games, it didn’t happen for the youngster and was therefore called back to Spurs where he featured for the U21 side, in which he had more success – scoring two and assisting two, including a great goal at Old Trafford against a strong Manchester United youth side. Tottenham need to find the right club for McEvoy in which he can gain experience, as he does have talent, but needs to find a League One side in which he can have a full season as a key part of a side, which is important for him. Hopefully, with another loan spell he can show his quality – as he is still young.
Shaq Coulthirst – Southend & York – League Two. The 21-year-old striker’s loan deal included being available for our U21 side. Coulthirst made a respectable 36 appearances for both Colchester and York combined, which is a very respectable total and I’m sure Shaq earned a lot of experience and leaned a lot in what is a very tough League to play in and get any consistency in your performances. Shaq managed to strike six goals in League Two this season, which I’m sure he will be a little disappointed with, but coming off the bench often and not having a prolonged time in either side I’m sure it would have been difficult for him. Southend was fairly successful loan for Coulthirst and I hope he can learn from the experience, and hopefully gain himself a loan to a better League next season, most likely in League One. Hopefully he can improve further and become a more clinical striker – more goals is what he needs to bring to next season, and if he can do that then maybe he can have a future in the first team at Spurs, having already made his debut for the senior side.
Ryan Fredericks – Middlesbrough – Championship. At 22 years old, Fredericks has been a very promising player coming up from the youth ranks, the right back has already made his senior debut for Tottenham, and looked very impressive. But as the competition at right back has increased the chances for Ryan Fredericks have seemingly decreased and the loan spell at Boro looked like an opportunity for him to showcase the talent that he definitely possesses. Unfortunately Fredericks made only 19 appearances in all competitions for Middlesbrough, being in and out of the side that got to the play off final, although unfortunately Ryan did not take part in the final. I think the loan was beneficial for Fredericks but he has a battle on his hands to compete with Kyle Walker, DeAndre Yedlin and now Eric Dier who has played at right back a lot this season – and his time at Spurs could come to an end. But, I think if he can secure another loan deal for next season to further show his talents, which would be best for him, in the Championship most probably.
Jordan Archer – Northampton & Millwall – League Two & Championship. Two very interesting loan deals for the 22-year-old Scottish U21 international goalkeeper. First, a loan deal, which would seemingly get him a good amount of experience in a competitive League, but Jordan Archer only amassed 16 appearances, being unfortunately behind their first choice ‘keeper, so not really getting a look in unless he was injured – so I think it was poor of Tottenham to loan him to a side that couldn’t guarantee him first team football, which for a young goalkeeper is crucial. Due to that lack of action, Archer was recalled, but wasn’t back at Spurs for long as he was then loaned quite surprisingly to Championship side Millwall, which is a big step up from Northampton, and it didn’t look as though he would get much game time and we were right – he didn’t appear in a single game at the Den, so the only reason for the loan you would expect is to experience that feeling in a dressing room and on the training ground of a Championship side. I think it’s unlikely that Archer becomes a first team goalkeeper for us, with Luke McGee looking promising and also with the strength we have in-between the sticks. Possibly another loan deal to a League One side next season, but if not it could be time for Archer to find a new club permanently this time, with chances at Spurs looking limited and not really impressing out on loan this season. (Now Released)
Grant Ward – Coventry – League One. The versatile 20-year-old midfielder joined Coventry in mid March, and was a key part of the side during that time, making 11 outings for the Sky Blues during the short loan spell. After a loan to the MLS with Chicago Fire which I’m sure was quite the experience for young Ward, it’s crucial to his development that he gets time to play in England in the lower leagues, so that he can gain the knowledge of competitive English football. As helpful as the loan to Chicago might have been on a personal level, moving out to the US for a season at a young age, the level of football is not the same as England and I hope that next season Ward is able to get a good loan deal to a Championship club. We have seen his quality in our post-season tour against Malaysia and Sydney, where he has looked lively – but I don’t think he is quite ready for the first team, so needs to experience a full, good, season as part of a Championship side – that would be very beneficial for Grant Ward. He helped the Coventry side escape relegation from League One with his performances, which according to the Coventry fan base were of a very good level, gaining one assist as well.
Tom Carroll – Swansea – Premier League. 23-year-old Tom Carroll has been one of our most promising young players for quite a while now, and after a loan spell to QPR in the Championship which was quite unsuccessful, it looked like his spark as the next first team player was evaporating – but this loan move to a Premier League club was fantastic. Carroll needed a club that could nurture him as the technical, petite central midfielder that he is – and if you could pick any Premier League side to do that it is Swansea. It was the perfect loan deal for him and very good for all three parties, Tottenham, Swansea and Carroll himself. Although it was always unlikely that Carroll would be a constant in the Swans side, he was still being developed by a great manager in Garry Monk and fighting for a spot in a solid Premier League side. At 23 it is make or break time for Carroll, and making 18 appearances in all competitions for Swansea is a good tally, netting once in the FA Cup and also notching an assist. I’m pleased with how the loan went for Carroll, and now, with the break of Mason and Bentaleb into the first team he has to be aiming to be a part of the first team for next season – another loan would only demoralise what is a good talent in Tom Carroll in my view. He has performed well in our post-season tour, and needs to impress in our pre-season as well, just like Mason did last pre-season. I really hope Tom can impress Pochettino and be a part of next season’s squad.
Milos Veljkovic – Championship – Middlesbrough & Charlton. At just 19, getting two loan deals to Championship level is very good. Milos is one of our most promising and versatile players, able to play in central defence or central midfield. Unfortunately, after not establishing himself in the Middlesbrough team, which was very fiercely contested for a central midfield and centre defence, Milos was recalled having made just three appearances for Boro. But, yet again it is another experience for a very young and encouraging young player – but after not getting the chances at a high flying Middlesbrough, he was sent out to Charlton in the lower half of the Championship, fighting for survival – but Milos was unfortunate, and after three outings for Charlton he suffered a dislocated shoulder and was forced back to Tottenham with his season over. Now, after only six appearances on loan in the Championship, but decent experience, it’s time for Spurs to find Veljkovic a good loan move to a Championship club, where he can be a regular and master his craft in either central midfield or defence. I have high hopes for Milos and after making his first team debut under Tim Sherwood and then a Europa League appearance under Pochettino, I hope he can get a good season out on loan next term and then work his way into the first team for the 2016/17 season.
Aaron Lennon – Everton – Premier League. A different sort of loan move for Lennon, who has already had a very good career with Tottenham and is an England international – so a loan move is surely only a way of trialling Lennon before eventually signing him. Everyone at Spurs is very thankful for what Lennon has done in his time with the club, but it looks as though that time is coming to an end. He deserves first team football at a Premier League side and Everton seems perfect for Aaron; whether he will go to Everton or not is still to be seen but after some good performances on Merseyside I think it’s likely Roberto Martinez will aim to bring Lennon in on a permanent basis. We’ll be sad to see him go, but it’s time for Lennon to have a different experience in the Premier League – I hope he can get a move that is beneficial for all three parties involved. Lennon made 14 appearances for the Toffees, scoring twice – and in his short time with them that is a solid return – and after Lennon saying that he enjoyed it at Everton; I think it’s likely he will make a permanent move.
Nathan Oduwa – Luton – League Two. A good loan move for young Oduwa; the 19-year-old forward appeared 11 times for Luton in League Two, failing to score but gaining valuable experience in competitive League football. Joining in February, he did well to amass the amount of appearances that he did, with his loan finishing in early May. It’s unfortunate that he couldn’t find the net as he has looked quite a natural finisher in the youth ranks, but he will be better for the experience in a trying League. The future for Oduwa should include a few more loan spells, hopefully working his way up the Leagues, becoming more effective with his goals and assists – then we can judge whether he is one for the first team or not. At just 19 we cannot really judge him properly. So hopefully he can get a good loan spell for next season, and improve further. We’ve seen Oduwa perform really well for the U21s, this season netting four times and notching four assists in just 11 outings, so I really hope he can progress further next term.
Bongani Khumalo – Colchester – League One. At 28, Khumalo does not have a future at Tottenham. Having been a part of out side for four years and not making a single outing for the first team, it’s quite obvious that his future does not lie at White Hart Lane. He has been very open to the fact he is looking for a new, permanent club, and the club has also been open in saying that it is trying to find him one. At Colchester, he did perform well, helping them escape relegation with his performances at the back, and the South African international will be happy with that, having come back from a very serious knee injury recently. Hopefully the club is able to find Khumalo a club that he can be a key part of, because he is not a bad player – which is evident with almost 50 caps for South Africa, but it hasn’t worked for him at Tottenham and Khumalo will want to find a new adventure, whether that is in England or not we will have to see. The bizarre Tottenham career of Bongani Khumalo is at its climax, folks. He made 10 appearances for Colchester in League One. (Now Released)
Emmanuel Sonupe – St Mirren – Scottish Championship. Quite the experience for 19-year-old Emmanuel Sonupe; sent on loan to Scotland in February. The winger/forward made only four appearances for St Mirren, mostly on the bench for the Saints it was never going to be a place where he would get a lot of action in the starting XI, but I’m sure the experiences was eye opening for young Sonupe, who could see how the difficult and gritty Scottish Championship compares to the relaxed and comfortable Tottenham U21s. He wouldn’t have been nurtured as much and treated as well, but it would have been good for him and I’m sure competitive League football was the aim and he got a taste of it, and now at 19 he will be looking to push on and secure another loan move for next term in the English divisions, with League Two the most likely destination for Sonupe, unless it is decided that he should stay in the U21s and be developed in a more comfortable scenario. Another promising young player along with Nathan Oduwa.
Lewis Holtby – Hamburg – Bundesliga. Lewis Holtby has been a fan favourite at Spurs since his arrival from Schalke; his passion and desire being an instant hit with the fans – but unfortunately that hasn’t been enough to see him become a first team player at the Lane. After an underwhelming first season, and then a loan deal to Fulham which was okay, he simply didn’t get the opportunity to show his quality at Spurs, and despite looking the sort of player that Pochettino would like, with his work rate and energy plus having a good pre-season, it wasn’t to be and a loan deal to Hamburg was arranged with an option to buy clause which Hamburg have reportedly activated. A move back to the Bundesliga wasn’t what Holtby had hoped so early in his Premier League career, but it seems best for a player that for all the passion and determination, sadly doesn’t look to have the talent that as a number 10, and a supposedly creative player should have. He doesn’t get enough goals or assists to really cement a place in Tottenham’s first team. At Hamburg, he has made 24 appearances in a struggling side, only getting two assists and no goals, which is disappointing for an attacking player such as Holtby. I think it’s best that he moves on, back to Hamburg and I’m sure he can have a good career, and you never know, one day he could be back in the Premier League as he is a just 24.
Dele Alli – MK Dons – League One. Our new signing this January, who was then loaned pack to MK Dons for the remainder of their season – and in the end, secured automatic promotion to the Championship – and our 19-year-old central midfielder played a massive part in that, scoring a very impressive 16 goals and assisting 11 times for the Dons in all competitions in 44 appearances. He has had a stellar season and earned himself the Young Player of the Year award throughout the Football League, as well as Player of the Year at MK Dons. They will miss him at stadium Mk, but their loss will be our gain as we take on one of the most promising players in the football league. His goal scoring knack and ability on the ball has been very good this season and I look forward to seeing him at Tottenham – as I think he will fit straight into the first team squad, pushing Ryan Mason, Tom Carroll and Nabil Bentaleb for the central midfield spot – but it will be tough. He needs a good pre-season under his belt and show Pochettino what he can do in the Tottenham side, as of course it’s a different level to that of MK Dons.
Alex Pritchard – Brentford – Championship. Probably our most impressive loan star; in the Championship he was brilliant – and arguably their best player. His creativity, agility and quality in the final third made him a menace to all the defences in the Championship. He made 47 appearances for Brentford, scoring an impressive 12 goals and 7 assists. This season he was voted Brentford’s player of the season, included in the Championship team of the season and voted the eight best player in the Championship. He had a phenomenal season, and now his place in the Tottenham first team is inevitable. Mauricio Pochettino has already confirmed that Pritchard is part of his plans for next season and that is brilliant, he has the talent and the ability to be a crucial and key player for us next season, and we do need another creative and talented attacking player to rival Nacer Chadli, Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela – especially Christian Eriksen who needs competition for the number 10 role that he has been virtually unchallenged for. At 22 years of age, it’s time for Pritchard to make the step up to the Premier League with Tottenham – after loan spells to League One, and then the Championship – he looks ready and hopefully he can be just as effective for Spurs as he was for Brentford. He is also a set piece specialist, from corners and free kicks, which is a good asset to have. I’m really looking forward to seeing the exciting Pritchard in action at the Lane next season. He will also team up with Harry Kane and Tom Carroll once again at the U21 European Championships and it will be great to see him there linking up with his team mates for next season.
Dominic Ball – Cambridge United – League Two. The 19-year-old centre back and England U20 international has a promising future ahead of him and he started his senior career with a loan to Cambridge in League Two, which is good for young Ball. He made 11 appearances in the League for Cambridge, and as he was only there from January that is a fairly respectable total, and from central defence he also managed to get two assists to his name. I have seen Dominic Ball in action for the U21s and he looks a strong but also technical defender, and hopefully he can continue to improve next season. He is very young for a defender, and he needs the experience to progress further – so another loan deal next season would do him good, possibly back in League Two, or even League One. He is a decent player but needs to gain that crucial experience and knowhow. I think he is a good prospect.
DeAndre Yedlin – Seattle Sounders – MLS. Our summer signing was kept at Seattle Sounders before making the move to Tottenham in January, and his performances were very good for Seattle, helping them win the US Open Cup, the Supporter’s shield and being named the U.S Young Athlete of the year. He had a great season with Seattle, but unfortunately couldn’t top it off with the MLS Cup via the play offs. He’s now made his Tottenham debut and he also played really well in the post-season tour in Malaysia and Sydney, and DeAndre after settling in London after being here since January, he can now push on and challenge Kyle Walker for the right back slot next season. I really think Yedlin can be a big player for us next season, after seeing him perform so well in the World Cup in Brazil, I think he has all the qualities to be a great player for Tottenham – and at just 21 years of age he does have a lot to learn in English football, and defensively he can be a little suspect but obviously under guidance, of which he looks very willing to take on and learn from. He’s a very ambitious young player and that shows in his bravery in taking on a massive step up from MLS football to the Premier League and I hope that he can be a big player for us, but also help Kyle Walker to improve by putting pressure on the English international. Yedlin made 30 appearances for Seattle last season and notched a solid four assists from right back, he has also cemented himself as a regular in the USA national side under the guidance of Jurgen Klinsmann.
It’s been a very eventful season for our loanees, and you would expect that next season it would be just as hectic with young players going out on loan. I would expect loan deals for some of our most promising players, but I would not be surprised to see Mauricio Pochettino be even braver with putting youngsters into the cup competitions next season such as Joshua Onomah, Harry Winks and Kyle Walker-Peters. Hopefully we can see some of last season’s loan players in our first team, especially Dele Alli, Tom Carroll and Alex Pritchard. Young, exciting English players, and they can join the likes of Danny Rose, Harry Kane and Ryan Mason in becoming key players of our first team. The loan system has been very beneficial for Tottenham in recent years and you have to expect us to continue to use it to our advantage and help develop some very good players that we have within our ranks. Thank you for following the #LoanWatch on twitter this season, and follow me on twitter for more next season here @AddictedToSpurs! COYS!!
You can also read my full Tottenham Season Review for the 2014/15 season HERE.