We take a look back at the start of the football season with the first loan round-up of the year, whilst looking at the early midweek youth internationals.
The football league kicked off on Saturday and was headlined for Chelsea involvement by Ryan Bertrand at Reading. The young left-back was acquired for the season by former Blues Reserve manager Brendan Rodgers and went straight into a young team to face Nottingham Forest. He impressed, but the Royals were unable to make a breakthrough despite having much possession, and the game finished 0-0. A selection of comments on his performance from Reading forums suggest a good debut:
“Looked good forward and back
Great run in the second half. Linked well with Kebe
Looked good, going forward. Looked ok in defence
Looked good in both defence and attack”
Elsewhere in Saturday’s action, Lee Sawyer was to miss Southend’s opener with Huddersfield due to a knee injury, but Tom Taiwo did start for Carlisle, playing a good hour before being withdrawn in their 3-1 defeat to newly-promoted Brentford. Once again, a selection of comments on his performance:
“Needs someone to calm him down a bit
Tried his hardest but might take a while until he settles in
Taiwo was lost
Taiwo being young and up for it needs to calm it down. He got the yellow straight after joe was fouled and it wasn’t given, he’ll learn though”
Overseas, Miroslav Stoch played a useful but frustrating 77 minutes against PSV for FC Twente in a 1-1 draw. Given Stoch’s ascention to the first team ranks and the level to which he is playing at Twente, he will receive less focus this season as he is no longer truly a reserve.
Sunday brought about the professional debut of Patrick van Aanholt, who had joined Coventry City on Friday. Thrown straight into a live televised game against Ipswich, he coped admirably, earning much the same reviews as Bertrand. His attacking forays were impressive, but defensively he could have done better, and admitted as much. He may have been deemed at fault for Ipswich’s goal, but Coventry won 2-1, with Clinton Morrison likening him to Ashley Cole.
Into midweek, and Chelsea asked for van Aanholt to be left out of Coventry’s League Cup fixtures so as to not cup-tie him, and Bertrand was on international duty for Reading’s comfortable victory over Burton Albion. Sawyer did make his return as a late sub and was on the field as Lee Barnard’s second goal of the game saw the Shrimpers past Cheltenham Town 2-1. Jordan Tabor featured as an unused sub for Cheltenham, having joined them over the summer.
With domestic duties therefore minimal, attentions turned to the international scene. In Groningen, Jeffrey Bruma was made to wait for his Dutch Under-21 debut against England, but played a confident second half in a goalless draw. Michael Mancienne played for England as usual, as did Bertrand and Daniel Sturridge as second-half substitutes.
Down one level at Under-20s, Jack Cork was part of the England team comfortably beating Montenegro 5-0 as they prepare for the Under-20 World Cup in September. Sam Hutchinson was not involved in the squad at all, despite having been named. Finally, that leaves Carl Magnay’s Northern Ireland Under-21 debut away to Portugal, where he played 90 minutes in a closely-fought 2-1 defeat.