Derby County leading the way with exemplary loan system use
Background Image Via: Flickr/Eamonn Curry. CC BY 4.0.
Derby County's place in the Championship play-off final is secure. The Rams' place in the Premier League is one final hurdle away. Despite stumbling at the last, Frank Lampard's side pulled together and overcame the two-goal deficit to send their fans into raptures. It's a day their fans, will never forget whatever happens in the Wembley showpiece. All this wouldn't have been possible without one thing; the loan system.
Super Frank, as Derby supporters call him, has exhausted every possibility at his disposal. He spent money to bring in Jack Marriott, Ashley Cole arrived on a free, but it's his use of borrowing players from other clubs that has made the biggest mark. Three players were signed on loan, last summer, all three have made an unbelievable impact. Lampard, like his coaches from his time at Chelsea, has put his trust in youth. Others can learn from his shrewdness.
Unsurprisingly, two players under Lampard's wing are Chelsea's property. I'd like to start with the one who gets far less credit than he deserves; Fikayo Tomori. Aged just 21, the young defender is loving life in Derbyshire. This is his breakthrough season having featured in 54 games across all competitions. His defensive awareness, positional excellence and overall tactical ability cannot be understated. He wouldn't have got such opportunities while at Chelsea.
Then you another have Mason Mount. He too has been taught his football at the Cobham Training Ground. Now 20, his first steps in football were, somewhat predictably, at Vitesse over in Holland. Although that's a pretty good place to start, nothing can beat the competitiveness that week-in-week-out Championship football provides. Mount has risen to the occasion, scoring eight, assisting five. There are calls for the Englishman to play a prominent role in Chelsea's first-team squad next term. He'd deserve the opportunity.
Last but by no means least is Harry Wilson. The Wales international is on loan from Liverpool. Aged 22, his time at Derby has been a real coming out party. The goals have been plentiful, eighteen in total - including one at Old Trafford that was cheered rather loudly by Manchester United's rivals from down the M62. Wilson's also turned creator, tacking on six assists for his teammates.
Without these three, Derby wouldn't be in the position they're in. It's as simple as that. The best part about it? Everyone wins. Lampard has aided the development of top young talents who'll be forever grateful for the chance given to them. The parent clubs will be feeling justified that their decision to let these players leave on short-term deals was worth it. After all, the trio are significantly better than they were twelve months ago. Finally, for Derby, they wouldn't have a chance to play in the most expensive game in football if they couldn't call upon the loan system.
The question I'd like to ask is why isn't this used more frequently? I mean, I somewhat understand the fact that clubs don't want to develop players for other sides and not reap the long-term rewards, but football is a results business, you're in the here and now. Do you think Derby will care if Mount goes back to Chelsea and tears it up at Stamford Bridge? I highly doubt it, because without him, Pride Park may be welcoming Luton Town rather than Liverpool and Manchester City in the 2019/20 season.
I'd like to point out that Derby isn't the only example, funnily enough, their play-off final opponents Aston Villa have done a pretty good job in the loan market, too, albeit to a lesser degree. With the spotlight firmly on both teams come May 27th, I hope others follow their lead and give young up-and-comers a chance to prove their worth.