Opinion: Tottenham’s loan strategy – What is best for the club?

Over the past few seasons, Tottenham fans have experienced various managers with different techniques and strategies for the talented youth players at Hotspur Way.

Obviously, a well-known way to get young players experience and time to grow in their vital early years is through loan moves.

These loan moves can often swing in several ways. The player can maybe drop down numerous leagues and tear apart oppositions, giving the player a strong argument for a first-team spot upon their return to the club.

Oliver Skipp is the shining example of that, who last season shone at Norwich on loan and has been even more impressive on his return to the club.

A second possibility is that the player struggles to adapt to such a large change and for various reasons the loan doesn’t work out, possibly stunting their growth as a player.

Players such as Kazaiah Sterling come to mind when thinking about this outcome after he failed to impact at clubs such as Sunderland, Doncaster, and Southend, despite his impressive tally for Tottenham’s U23s.

The first manager to look at, who had a clear way of operating with youth at Tottenham, is Mauricio Pochettino.

The stubborn and harsh loan scheme that Pochettino implemented was effective to bring through players, but also left many fans frustrated over the players who left and succeeded elsewhere after being denied chances at Tottenham or elsewhere on loan.

Major examples of this are players such as Noni Madueke, who has been electric for PSV after he joined their youth system in 2018. The second example is Marcus Edwards, another English winger who is now at Portuguese side, Vitoria de Guimaraes.

On the flip side of Pochettino’s strategy holds high rewards, with the Argentine bearing fruits for the labours of the youth who have stayed within the ranks.

Examples being players such as Eric Dier, who was awarded his first appearance vs West Ham from the bench, Eric grasped his opportunity by scoring a late winner and won over Pochettino’s approval.

The shining example of youth development during Poch’s reign is Tottenham striker Harry Kane. Harry was called upon by Mauricio early on in his tenure, after showing flashes of potential the season before.

However, it was against Aston Villa where Harry really made his name, Pochettino subbed Kane late on against the Villains at 1-1, Kane took it upon himself to take a late free-kick which was deflected in.

The rest of Kane’s career is now well-known by all, but it was Pochettino’s guidance and management of the young Englishman that helped him to form a strong connection with Pochettino and aided Harry’s rise to fame.

The other side of the spectrum of loans and dealings of youth players is the approach that Jose Mourinho took when at Tottenham.

The Portuguese’s ideas on loan moves were perhaps inspired from his previous employers and rivals Chelsea, who loan out an extremely high majority and quantity of their youth players, then either sell them for a healthy price or use them in their constantly improving squad.

Examples of this being De Bruyne, Salah and Lukaku, all of which are now household names, but players who Chelsea chose to let go after failing to impress on their loans.

However, the sword is double-edged for Chelsea’s system, as they have succeeded in utilising loans moves for players such as Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham who both went out on loan and have, retrospectively, now either became a valued first-team player or have been sold for a considerable amount of money.

These ideas were used by Mourinho during his time at Spurs as he loaned out promising youth to various Championship and League One clubs.

Irishman Troy Parrott went out on loan to Millwall and then Ipswich, Harvey White was sent out to play for Portsmouth and most notably, Oliver Skipp shone brightly when pushed out on loan to Norwich.

A real mixed bag of results from these loan moves highlights the paramount importance of choosing the right move for the player, which can be very tricky in today’s game as there isn’t always a plethora of clubs willing to take on a young striker to start most games in their season.

Skipp’s professionalism was clearly a trait that got him far in his loan to Norwich as he was consistently classy for the Canaries and helped their title victory, a showcase of how the right loan move can bolster a player’s career, rather than temporarily halting it.

Finally, we look at the present and future, Nuno is yet to firmly set out his loan philosophy due to the introduction of the UEFA Conference League.

The new European competition has given the ex-Wolves manager an opportunity to hand younger players European experience, without having to send them away from home.

Players such as Dane Scarlett and Bryan Gil have been particularly utilised in these matches, offering them a less intense and pressurised situation to grow as young players.

Under Nuno, only a handful of players have been sent out via loans, however, each loan has made clear logical sense and gone successfully so far, which is pleasing to all fans.

Troy Parrott has been very impressive so far upon his move to MK Dons, netting 3 times and setting up a further three all within 861 minutes of football.

Cameron Carter-Vickers is a player that has failed to stamp a spot in the first team for numerous years now, so a move to Celtic made sense for the American.

Finally, J’Neil Bennet was sent out on loan to Crewe Alexandra and the exciting prospect has already scored once within 5 appearances.

This overall is making the current system of loans under Nuno seem the most appealing on paper, however, it is still early days for the Portuguese and the pressure may mount for him next season to play these players if they return from their loans with goals and experience under their belts.

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