I’ve posted quite a bit on Chelsea’s youth policy – and it’s results – over the past month or so, largely bemoaning the lack of both players breaking through and opportunities for those who are showing promise.
Despite my general negativity, there are a few younger players who are on the cusp of making the standard and a few of them have made loan moves to Premier League clubs this season: Di Santo (Blackburn), Sinclair (Wigan) and Mancienne (Wolves).
Both Sinclair and Mancienne have been out on loan before, but this is the first opportunity they both have to get Premier League football and I’d like to keep an eye on how they’re getting along. As Wigan and Wolves clashed at the JJB on Tuesday, it seemed an opportune moment.
Having joined them on loan before, Wolves fans are very familiar with Mancienne and tend to be big admirers of the youngster. Word on the street is that he was a little nervy on his first Premier League outing with the club on Saturday as they crashed to a two nil home loss to Zola’s West Ham (he played 67 minutes before being substituted). The media’s opinion him was divided however, with the Sun rating his performance at a not-too-shabby 7/10 and the Times 5/10.
It went slightly better for Wolves against Wigan on Tuesday however as they ran out one nil winners. Again, the Sun was glowing about Mancienne’s performance, rating it at 8/10, and football fans rated him the second best player on the pitch (with a score of 7.3) on the Daily Telegraph website.
After the game, Wigan fans took the time to post on a popular Wolves forum on how impressed they were with Mancienne’s performance. Some of the comments included: “Mancienne and Craddock played very well, the few times we challenged them they came out on top every time” and “Mancienne looked very good I thought”.
Wolves fans on the forum were generally impressed with their loan signing too, despite one assertion that “he needs to get out of the superstar mentality asap…he had a bad game on Saturday”. One fan took a contrasting view, suggesting “he’s a young lad with his feet firmly on the ground, he did ok against the threat of Carlton Cole on Saturday, we got a good hour out of him”. Another supporter probably took it too far: “Mancienne is the new Beckenbauer! What was he doing at the end trying to beat Wigan on his own?”
Sinclair hasn’t had the benefit as the same amount of game time as Mancienne, and as such probably hasn’t had the opportunity to make similar impact. In both of Wigan’s games so far – the opening day win over Aston Villa and the following loss to Wolves – he’s been brought on for 30 minutes as an impact substitute and the Sun rated both as 5/10 performances. Reportedly against Villa he looked good, taking players on with confidence. This was in the context of a two nil lead however, and he was less impressive against Wigan, even contriving to head wide a good chance to level the scores in the dying moments of the game.
All that said, Wigan fans’ early opinion seems to be optimistic. On one fans’ forum, Wiganer.net, produced gushing praise for the winger, including: “This lad looked good, a few times he seemed to just waltz past defenders. Do you think we have any hope of making his move permanent?” and “After yesterday he will defo be an awesome signing. Get this boy signed up”. Most encouraging – and I don’t know how much experience Wigan fans have of the world’s most talented players – one fan said: “he looks very promising and will develop to be a world class player”.
Of course, there’s a very long way to go and (hopefully) both Sinclair and Mancienne will get plenty more time to learn their trade at the top level and show us what they’re capable of. We’ll keep an eye on all the players out on loan and try and keep you updated at how they’re getting on.
Are you happy with these two going out on loan? Wolves and Wigan fans – how do you rate your loan signings?
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