Kurt Happy Zouma (24), Everton - Premier League
Appearances: 9+2, 812 minutes
Results: 4W, 6L, 1D
Goals + Assists: 1 + 1
Zouma has started all of Everton’s games in the festive period, although they’ve lost four of their last six league games, including a 2-6 humbling by Tottenham in front of their own fans at Goodison Park. They’ll hope to have turned a corner after a 0-1 win against Bournemouth, in which Big Kurt found the back of the net. He assisted Gylfi Sigurdsson’s consolation goal in a 2-1 loss to Southampton, a loss coupled with their FA Cup defeat at the Den, which has put Marco Silva’s position as manager in quite some doubt. Despite the Toffees’ form, Zouma seems to have established himself as a fan favourite and the calls for him to stay in Merseyside beyond his loan spell grow louder every week.
Robert Kenedy Nunes Nascimento (22), Newcastle United - Premier League
Appearances: 7+3, 620 minutes
Results: 3W, 5L, 2D
Not quite playing to his usual standards, Kenedy has gone from one of the first names on the team-sheet last season, to a more dispensable option this time around. He’s been among the minutes nevertheless but should be showing more to live up to his highly-touted potential. Kenedy’s last goal contribution came in a 2-1 win against Bournemouth, where his cross was dispatched with aplomb by Salomon Rondon(‘s head). Kenedy has been dropped from the 18 a couple of times in the last two months and also spent some time out due to a toenail injury. He performed very poorly in his first match back, a 0-2 loss to Watford and must do better if he’s to keep his place in the side.
Rafa Benitez later denied claims that Kenedy would be sent back to Chelsea before the window shut.
Rafa Benitez on Kenedy— Chelsea Loan Army (@ChelseaLoanArmy) January 29, 2019
I don’t need to make excuses – he knows that he’s not playing well. He knows that he has to improve. At the same time, he has had a problem with his toenail, he had an operation to fix that, and still it’s a little bit painful for him.
Rafa Benitez on Kenedy— Chelsea Loan Army (@ChelseaLoanArmy) January 29, 2019
Hopefully, he can react and do well. Obviously he knows that, because we’ve been talking about that. It’s obvious.
Mason Tony Mount (20), Derby County - Sky Bet Championship
Appearances: 13, 1122 minutes
Results: 7W, 3L, 3D
Goals + Assists: 1 + 1
The festive period was always going to be a testing one, not just for young Mason Mount but also Frank Lampard’s Derby County itself. Not only were the fixtures coming thick and fast but the quality of opposition was of a high standard all the way through. Given the overall results of teams in and around the promotion places, the Rams haven’t done too much harm to their chances despite winning only 1 of their last 6 matches and sit in sixth place. Mount’s form has seen a dip, as compared to that which earned him an England call-up all, although that’s completely understandable given the extenuating circumstances - namely, the number of continuous minutes he’s played since breaking into the Vitesse team last October and his recent ankle injury.
However, Mount looks to be back on his way to good nick, assisting a match-saving equaliser against Bristol City and Derby’s second goal in a thrilling 3-4 encounter versus Norwich City. Unfortunately, his progress has been curtailed a bit by a tight hamstring flaring up against Accrington Stanley in the FA Cup but it’s to be no more than a minor blip.
This interview with Mount in the Daily Mail offers a brief glimpse into his life at Derby, and how he even drives vice-captain Richard Keogh to training!
‘All the time, I’m his (Keogh’s) taxi. He lives right next door to me.’
‘George Thorne and Chris Martin used to take him in, but they left. In my first eight weeks here I was in a hotel and got to know him really well. So when I moved he was like, “You’ve got to step up here and take me in”.’
‘He has saved so much (petrol money) after so many years!’
- Mason Mount; source: Daily Mail
Oluwafikayomi Oluwadamilola “Fikayo” Tomori (21), Derby County - Sky Bet Championship
Appearances: 13+1, 1290 minutes
Results: 7W, 4L, 4D
Tomori may just have begun to be rotated in and out of the side for captain Curtis Davies, but Davies was inflicted with yet another long-term injury in a 2-1 loss to Stoke which meant that Tomori has started every game since. In fact, Derby are now particularly light in the center-back department with Alex Pearce recently loaned out to Millwall. The young center-back has seen some torrid matches alongside Richard Keogh, though, appearing vulnerable to aerial attacks at times. An errant back-pass in their recent win against Reading even directly led to a goal being conceded. It’s all part of a learning curve for him and no doubt, he’ll have learnt from the fixtures gone by. For what it’s worth, he was excellent in the two cup games sandwiching the Reading clash - versus Premier League (Southampton) and League One (Accrington Stanley) opposition. His exuberance and passion in every match is unquestionable, though and it shows that he’s fully committed to the Derby cause.
Your #MondayMotivation is brought to you by @FikayoTomori_— Derby County (@dcfcofficial) January 28, 2019
Michael Anthony James Hector (26), Sheffield Wednesday - Sky Bet Championship
Appearances: 13, 1170 minutes
Results: 5W, 3L, 5D
Michael Hector has been ever-present in the Sheffield Wednesday XI despite the sacking of Jos Luhukay, which seemed to stop Wednesday’s rot of losses. Hector scored his first goal of the season against Preston North End; a headed effort that was enough to win his team the game.
Lewis Renard Baker (23), Leeds United + Reading - Sky Bet Championship
Appearances: 4+2, 257 minutes
Results: 4W, 2L
These numbers don’t paint a pretty picture. Baker’s last two starts for Leeds in the Championship ended with him being replaced at half-time and chided by fans on social media for uninspiring performances. There could be many reasons as to why he’s looked off pace for Bielsa’s side; his role as an attacking midfielder as opposed to a deep-lying playmaker, the dearth of actual minutes on the pitch over the last 1.5 years, lack of compatibility with Bielsa’s system and so on. Baker really needs a team with a manager who will trust him, in a suitable system. Unfortunately, Lewis’ first start for the Royals did not go as planned. Lining up alongside Leandro Bacuna in a two-man midfield against Derby, Baker was hauled at half-time for the more attack-minded option in Sone Aluko. That makes it three starts in a row now, that Baker’s been taken off after 45 minutes.
Tomáš Kalas (25), Bristol City - Sky Bet Championship
Appearances: 13+1, 1284 minutes
Results: 8W, 4D, 2L
Kalas has been a key part of the Robins’ promotion challenge, which is beginning to shape up nicely. He’s an undisputed starter for them and unlike his previous Championship loan spells, there are indications that he is highly valued at Bristol City and his performances have been mirroring the same. Fingers crossed.
Jay Rhys Dasilva (20), Bristol City - Sky Bet Championship
Appearances: 5+2, 463 minutes
Results: 5W, 1D, 1L
An injury and squad rotation have meant that Dasilva’s minutes haven’t exactly been free-flowing. However, if he can manage to keep himself fit until the end of the season then he’ll end up with a respectable tally of minutes in his first Championship season. Given his diminutive physical stature, it’s understandable that there are some matches in which Lee Johnson would opt for the stronger, taller option in Lloyd Kelly but Dasilva has grown into an important part of the Robins’ campaign, playing well whenever he’s called upon.
Recent comments by Mark Ashton, their chairman, brought to light that an option to buy was inserted in the initial loan deal for Dasilva. Whilst initially a rather surprising piece of news, it would make sense if Jay’s going to need a period of time to convince every manager he plays under, that the other aspects of his game compensate for the lack of height. In these crucial years of his development, he needs to play as much as possible and given the circumstances, some stability for him might be the best solution. Bristol City has emerged as a well-run club in the last few years, who’ve put faith in their manager and are committed to playing an attacking brand of football. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them as part of the Premier League in the near future, and that’s another reason why this move would be an attractive prospect for Dasilva. This thread on the ‘One Team in Bristol’ forum, created after an impressive cameo from Jay in a 2-1 win against Bolton, elucidates well on his situation at the club and the battle for the left-back spot with fellow England youth international, Lloyd Kelly.
Kasey Remel Palmer (22), Blackburn Rovers + Bristol City - Sky Bet Championship
Appearances: 4+4, 359 minutes
Results: 4W, 1D, 3L
Palmer has been fully fit and yet played lesser minutes than Jay Dasilva in the same time period, which should tell you everything about his situation at Blackburn Rovers. Playing second fiddle to Bradley Dack has seen the minutes dry up for Kasey, as he’s also proved to be largely ineffectual as a winger in Tony Mowbray’s side. You could see a re-assignment of loan coming from a mile away.
Palmer was shipped off to Bristol City earlier this month and handed his debut as part of a triple-substitution in the 61st minute, with the Robins trailing to crisis-ridden Bolton Wanderers. It was the perfect debut, as he just about headed the ball over the line following a corner scrap in the 66th minute to give his team the win. Palmer was fouled 4 times in his short time on the pitch, showcasing the ball-carrying ability that’s always made him a potent threat from midfield.
#KP45 debut vs Bolton Wanderers— james (@jbcfc99) January 15, 2019
(@kaseypalmer45 was fouled a lot) pic.twitter.com/ShNerE6Bur
He made his first start against Bolton Wanderers in the FA Cup and was arguably the best player on the pitch, coming very close to scoring with a free-kick. Taken off after 74 minutes, it might’ve been an indication that he’s in line for a start in their next game.
Reece James (19), Wigan Athletic - Sky Bet Championship
Appearances: 13 + 1, 1174 minutes
Results: 2W, 3D, 9L
Ah, where do I start about Reece James? Wigan have been poor this season but he’s been their best player by a country mile. Starting every game apart from the odd substitute appearance when rested, Reece has been phenomenal for the Latics, forming an essential component of their crossing-reliant game. He’s had some of the best attacking output of all the full-backs in the league, even proving a threat from free-kicks.
Reece James has free kicks in his locker too . We saw him score one against Leeds earlier on this season. This one hit the bar which led to a penalty.— Will (@will_reyner) January 27, 2019
We have a serious player on our hands. #CFC @reecejames69
Video - @jonnyjones233 pic.twitter.com/trxlUH0V8y
James was even thrust into midfield against Blackburn Rovers, where he did a stellar job.
Here we go, thanks to @wafcnathan for finding this...here's 19-year-old on-loan Chelsea right-back Reece James, 10 minutes after being thrust into central midfield for the first time in senior football, showing the future of the English game. #wafc #cfchttps://t.co/6P4tFUeNqI— Paul Kendrick (@PKendrickWIG) January 5, 2019
Easily one of the brightest prospects in the league, I think it’s fair to say James has been one of, if not the best-performing Chelsea loanee this season.
I took a look at offensive contribution by FBs in the #EFL Championship.#wafc rb Reece James is in a complete world of his own here, truly staggering for a 19 year old in this division. #cfc supporters, how far off of competing for a place is he? pic.twitter.com/1RT8m1fMCz— alex sheppard (@its_shep) January 10, 2019
Kevin Oghenetega Tamaraebi “Tammy” Bakumo-Abraham (21), Aston Villa - Sky Bet Championship
Appearances: 13, 1157 minutes
Results: 5W, 6D, 2L
That’s right, 15 goals in his last 13 starts for Tammy Abraham. He’s been instrumental in Villa’s promotion chase, turned down an advance from Wolverhampton early in the the window and could well prove to be the catalyst that propels Villa back into the Premier League. It’s been repeated to infinity, but by now it’s well-established that Tammy is too good for the Championship. It’s definitely beneficial that he’s growing in confidence and building up momentum but apart from that, not much else.
He even scored four goals against Nottingham Forest, a brilliant advertisement for the Championship which ended in a 5-5 stalemate. Tammy could’ve even bagged a fifth goal on the day, but it was chalked off as offside!
The @SkyBetChamp top goalscorer....⚽️— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) January 21, 2019
All 1️⃣7️⃣ strikes from @TammyAbraham's 2️⃣2️⃣ matches in claret and blue. #PartOfThePride #AVFC pic.twitter.com/pR14GcBHIW
The quality of that finish from @TammyAbraham cannot be underestimated #PartOfThePride #AVFC pic.twitter.com/SzI22TGtR3— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) January 28, 2019
Trevoh Tom Chalobah (19), Ipswich Town - Sky Bet Championship
Appearances: 11+1, 1006 minutes
Results: 2W, 1D, 8L
Trevoh has been something of a rough diamond in Ipswich’s midfield, usually playing alongside veteran Cole Skuse and when in a three-man midfield, Ipswich academy product Flynn Downes as well. Trevoh can display moments of brilliance and madness in the same match but is slowly growing more disciplined as he transitions into a full-time midfield role, having spent a lot of time in the Chelsea academy as a center-back. Technically Ipswich’s best midfield player, he’s also the most creative by a country mile and is often the sole driving force from the middle of the pitch. He’s certainly been dividing opinion among the fans so far but the younger Chalobah is on a steep learning curve, given the state of the team he’s playing with as well. Ipswich started deplorably under Paul Hurst, but a change in manager to Paul Lambert has done little to reverse their fortunes. They still sit rock bottom and don’t look like getting out of the relegation zone any time soon.
Todd Arthur Lucien Kane, Hull City - Sky Bet Championship
Appearances: 11+1, 1006 minutes
Results: 6W, 3D, 3L
Kane, presumably on his last loan as a Chelsea player before leaving for pastures anew, had spent a lot of time playing as a winger for Nigel Adkins’ side but was finally cast back into his preferred right-back position upon an injury to Eric Lichaj. Ever since, he’s made the spot his own, playing all but one of Hull City’s game since. The Tigers have been on a purple patch in the same time, going from fighting to stay afloat to being six points off the play-off positions. Todd’s been impressing and ought to be in the club’s thoughts with regard to a permanent signing in the summer. On a free, he’d be a steal for any Championship club. Peter Swann, journalist for the Hull Daily Mail, makes the case for signing Todd up, here.
Dujon Henriques Sterling (19), Coventry City - Sky Bet League One
Appearances: 8, 720 minutes
Results: 3W, 1D, 4L
Assists: 1, Penalties won: 1
Injury troubles saw him miss all of November but when fit, Sterling has been Coventry’s first-choice right-back and continues to improve with every game. He took some time adapting to the senior game and had more than his fair share of criticism from the fans but upon finding his groove, he’s looked every bit the talent we’ve known him to be. Picking up an assist (now at three for the season) and winning a penalty in his last three appearances and against Blackpool on Saturday, having the beating of Nick Anderton so often that the wide center-back was subbed off after 34 minutes, Dujon is only beginning to reach the peak of his powers at this level. The fans who once lambasted him for being undeserving of taking Jack Grimmer’s place early in the season, now readily concede that the 19-year-old has been one of their best players for the last few months.
Ike Dominique Ugbo (20), formerly Scunthorpe United - Sky Bet League One
Appearances: 3+3, 327 minutes
Results: 1W, 0D, 5L
Another loan at a struggling team gone wrong for Ugbo, who was so prolific at youth level but has failed to translate any of that to the professional game. However, of this three loan clubs so far, two were relegated from their respective divisions (Barnsley and MK Dons) and the other (Scunthorpe) sits 14th in League One with the third-worst goal difference in the league. The question must be asked, is the club really choosing all its loans carefully? Ugbo can’t be absolved of blame but it’s hard to say he’s the only one responsible for the stuttering start to his senior career. As of now, he’s returned to Chelsea after Scunthorpe chose not to extend his six-month loan deal.
Jacob Christian Maddox (20), Cheltenham Town - Sky Bet League Two
Appearances: 6+2, 489 minutes
Results: 4W, 1D, 3L
Goals + Assists: 1 + 1
Injuries meant that Maddox didn’t see quite as much playing time as he could’ve during November and December, who’s played when fit and contributed to Cheltenham escaping the clutches of the relegation zone. They’re current five points clear with a game in hand, and Maddox helped them open up the gap with a well-taken goal against Macclesfield Town last weekend. He also assisted Luke Varney in a 1-4 rout of Yeovil Town on New Year’s Day, making it his third of the season.
Maddox was featured in the Chelsea Official Website’s ‘Steps Up’ series, and spoke extensively about the Cheltenham team, adjusting to senior football and his role in the team among other things.
Bradley Ray Collins (21), Burton Albion - Sky Bet League One
Appearances: 16, 1440 minutes
Results: 5W, 4D, 7L
Goals Conceded: 27, Clean Sheets: 4
After sustaining an injury in his first Burton appearance, Collins has done well to win his place back in the team despite Dimitar Evitmov not doing much wrong. He played during Burton’s historic EFL Cup run as well, keeping a clean sheet against Middlesbrough but then letting in 10 goals over two legs versus Manchester City. That evening at the Etihad Stadium was one that gave Collins a taste of the level at which world-class teams operate and although picking the ball out of his own net nine times must’ve been a torturous experience, Brad did make some fine saves over the two legs as well. In this interview with Goal, he looks back upon the experience and reflects on just how much he learnt that day, as well as revealing the details of his little conversation with Pep Guardiola, upon the final whistle.
“He (Guardiola) said; ‘tough night?’ I simply said ‘yes’. Then he proceeded to say what an incredible achievement it was for us to get to the semi-final,”
“He said that we were a credit to ourselves and he said the same to the staff.
“It was nice to have that from him. He could have just enjoyed the goals for himself but no, he had time for us, which was brilliant, when a manager of that stature has respect for us.
”I was thinking ‘wow’ on the final whistle. That’s the first time in a game situation that I have played against a team who are that good. It just shows the level from here to there. It is incredible, it is really frightening. I really enjoyed it but I was drained at the same time.
”We deserved to be where we were and beat some top teams along the way to the semis, so I think it has been a great run. For me, personally, I wanted them to show us respect and pick their best players. No disrespect to any of their other players, but that’s what they did.
”The front three [Sane, Jesus and Mahrez] and midfield three [De Bruyne, Silva and Gundogan] they put out were all amazing players and that’s what we wanted to test ourselves.
- Bradley Collins; source: Goal UK
Collins also spoke about his loan experiences this season as compared to the last, when he took his first steps into senior football with the newly-promoted Forest Green Rovers in League Two.
“Compared to last season, when I was in League Two, there’s a lot more quality,”
“I feel like last year, at Forest Green, prepared me for this year. It was a major, major learning curve last season. Forest Green came up from the National League to League Two. It was my first loan as a youngster.
”For me, it was very tough. I feel like a made a lot of mistakes last year but I feel like I have learned from it and taken it into this year. Now, I feel more comfortable. I feel like I know what I am doing a bit more around men’s players, coaches and the fans.
”You don’t get any of that in academy football. It is tough when you get fans shouting at you. It shouldn’t matter but it does. People working in football lose out on money, mortgages, it is nothing to mess around with. You notice that as soon as you go out on loan.
“When I first went into Forest Green, the keeper who was already there at the time was a fan favourite. I came in there and straight away it was backs against the wall. I didn’t start the season well. Ever since then, there was a certain few people who were on my back and it was my first loan.
”Then, after Christmas, I feel like I just changed it around. I went for it and it seemed to all come together and we survived relegation. The fans got behind me and it was great in the end. I came out of academy football playing 20 games, then I went into men’s football and played 47 games.”
- Bradley Collins; source: Goal UK
Nathan Joseph Baxter (20), Yeovil Town - Sky Bet League Two
Appearances: 4, 360 minutes
Results: 2W, 0D, 2L
Goals conceded: 3, Clean sheets: 2
Nathan Baxter spent a month and a half out injured, returning to action earlier this month in a 0-1 loss to Bury. He’s started all of Yeovil’s matches since, keeping two clean sheets in the process and overseeing Yeovil’s first league wins since October. A fan favourite, Baxter’s habit of drinking water frequently during games has spawned a rather amusing Twitter account.
I would like to distance myself from spurs performance today. They are bottling that all by themselves. #upthepalace— nathan baxter’s water bottle (@baxterswater) January 27, 2019
Most clean-sheets: LEAGUE TWO— D3D4Football (@d3d4football) January 25, 2019
12 - Lee Nicholls - #MKDons
10 - Daniel Iversen - Oldham
10 - @Scotty_brown85 - Port Vale
10 - @scottydav1 - Tranmere
9 - Nathan Baxter - Yeovil
9 - Bobby Olejnik - Mansfield#oafc #pvfc #TRFC #YTFC #Stags #SWA
Joshua Grant (20), Yeovil Town - Sky Bet League Two
Appearances: 3, 270 minutes
Results: 2W, 0D, 1L
Josh Grant, a center-back who can play as a wing-back on either flank as well, joined up with fellow Chelsea academy graduate, Nathan Baxter, at Yeovil Town. With Yeovil going through an injury crisis, Grant was thrown straight into the XI versus a formidable opponent in Mansfield and comfortably held his own as they won 0-1. He’s started their following two games as well and been on the receiving end of praise for the manner in which he’s acquitted himself at his new club.
Baxter and Grant don’t just happen to be two Chelsea lads who are at the same loan club, though. The goalkeeper elucidates on the same below, speaking after the aforementioned win versus Mansfield.
“Well we actually went to school together as well. So I had some (pictures) of us at school, but I didn’t want to put that up! But it’s nice.
I think the last time we actually played together was in the FA Youth Cup final. So it’s great to see him here, and obviously Chelsea have seen that I’ve come here and played regular football.
I know they’ve had a lot of conversations with the club about me over the last couple of weeks, and obviously that’s helped bring about Josh. It can only help. Most of the time, the manager trusts you on players, so it’s a good place to be if you’re playing regularly. So it’s good that he’s come, and a great shift from him.”
- Nathan Baxter; source: Cider Space
Last but not the least, a few words on players who are/were on loan to English clubs, but haven’t played much football.
Izzy Brown (22) has been on loan at Leeds United since September but suffered a setback during recovery from an ACL tear he sustained a year ago. This has pushed his expected involvement with Marcelo Bielsa’s first-team back by several weeks but now fit again, Izzy has been playing for the Leeds Under-23 side to build up match fitness and we should see him on the big stage again before long.
Charlie Colkett (22) went from perpetually in the stands to perpetually on the bench once Sam Ricketts replaced John Askey at Shrewsbury Town, and departed for Ostersunds FK in Sweden, on a permanent transfer a few days ago.
Karlo Ziger (17), Chelsea Under-18s goalkeeper, joined Vanarama National League side, Sutton United on loan two weeks ago but has not been involved for them since making a lone FA Trophy appearance one day after signing. He’s presumably been training at Cobham during the week, and will serve as emergency cover for Sutton.
Finally, Jack Wakely (18), a center-back who’s captained the Under-18s on numerous occasions has joined Basingstoke Town - they tried to sign Ronaldinho once, you know - in the Southern League Premier Division South, which is effectively the seventh tier of English football. He’s made one start for them so far but one would assume there’s a similar agreement in place, as for Ziger.