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A quick look at the youngsters out on loan

Posted by unitedfanatic on January 5, 2010

We’re into the second half of the season, with fixtures piling up, and as the Carling Cup and FA Cup proceed, this is the time for our youth to shine bright. So here’s a review of the young guns who plied their trade outside of Manchester to gain some experience while playing on loan.

1. Craig Cathcart

Position – Centre Back; Age – 20; Loan Club – Watford

Craig Cathcart, who is a former Under-18s Captain, and the Jimmy Murphy Player of the Year 2006/07, was first named on the substitutes bench as early as 2007 against Middlesbrough, then the game in which United gave Roma a 7-1 mauling in the Champions League, the win over Watford in the FA Cup and again in the win against Sheffield United. A serious Knee Injury kept him out of the limelight, following which he made a swift return for a couple of loan spells, and for United – most notably for the Audi Cup competition in 2009.

Loaned out to Watford on 14th September after scoring in the first reserve league game against Bolton Wanderers, he has put in impressive performances alongside fellow United midfielder Tom Cleverley to earn the Boss’ praises. He suffered a Knee Injury that kept him out of the 5-0 mauling by Chelsea in the FA Cup yesterday, and has since returned to Manchester following the end of his loan spell.

2. James Chester

Position – Centre Back, Age – 20, Loan Club – Plymouth Argyle

Known for playing in the Under-9s for his first club, Winkick Athletic, at the age of 5, and against players 4 years older than him, James Chester earned the Captain’s role for the Reserves in the 2008-09 season and won the Denzil Haroun Reserve Player of the Year-2008/09. He experienced first team action as an unused substitute against Bolton in January 2009, followed by a substitute appearance in place of Gary Neville against Derby County in the FA Cup.

After a loan spell with Peterborough United, he embarked on a 3-month loan with Plymouth Argyle on 18th September, 2009 along with United team mate David Gray, but in his third appearance, suffered Cartilage damage that ruled him out for 10-12 weeks. The injury would extend beyond the loan period, so he returned to Manchester United on 18th October, 2009.

3. Daniel Drinkwater

Position – Midfielder, Age – 19, Loan Club – Huddersfield Town

At United since the age of 10, Danny has since matured into a tough-tackling, skilled midfielder, who has also been capped for England at the Under-21 level. First taste of action with the senior team came in the dead rubber game last season against Hull City, the final game of the Premier League Season, when he was named on the substitutes bench.

Was loaned out to Huddersfield Town on 14th August, 2009 for the whole season, and scored his debut, and only goal for them in his second game, out of a total of 11 appearances till date.

4. David Gray

Position – Right Midfielder, Right Back, Age – 21, Loan Club – Plymouth Argyle

Arrived at United in 2004 at the age of 16, Gray broke into the Reserves team mainly as a Right Back, but is known to play in a variety of positions, from Attack to Defence. Debut for the Senior team came in October 2006 in a League Cup game against Crewe Alexandra.

After a couple of loan spells with Royal Antwerp and Crewe Alexandra, he was loaned out to Plymouth Argyle, first in January 2009, then following his return at the end of 2008/09 season, rejoined them in September 2009 on a 3-month deal. Has made 12 appearances for them till date.

5. Danny Simpson

Position – Right Back, Age – 23, Loan Club – Newcastle United

“Simmo”, as he is fondly called, is a product of Manchester United’s Youth Academy, and made his debut for the First team on tour in July 2006 at South Africa. He has tasted relatively more First team action, as compared to the other on-loan players, with a debut in the Champions League too! Has been on a lot of loan spells, with teams including the likes of Ipswich Town, Sunderland and Blackburn Rovers.

Enjoying a decent number of outings for Blackburn in the FA Cup and League Cup, as well as some rare appearances in the Premier League in the 2008/09 season before an early termination of his contract to return to Manchester, he was loaned out to the relegated Newcastle United in August 2009. Simpson has since made 19 appearances for Newcastle and scored 1 goal. His loan ends on January 18, but the full-back has iterated his desire to stay at St.James’ Park and a future away from United.

6. Tom Heaton

Position – Goalkeeper. Age – 23, Loan Club – Rochdale

Heaton, who signed for United in 2002, has been a regular at Youth and Reserves level, but is yet to appear for the first team, with counterpart Ben Amos eclipsing Heaton in the already limited number of chances in the presence of no.1 Van Der Sar, Tomasz Kuszczak and and Ben Foster.

Has spent a lot of time on loan at Swindon Town, Royal Antwerp, Cardiff City, Queenspark Rangers, and Rochdale – the most recent loan stint, while also being capped for England at the Under-21 level 3 times. Is now back at Carrington, following the end of his loan deal in December 2009 with Rochdale . Still needs to put in impressive performances to get the go ahead of Amos.

7. Tom Cleverley

Position – Midfielder, Age – 20, Loan Club – Watford

Shot to recognition for his goal against Valencia in the Pre-Season Friendly in 2009, Cleverley has been touted as a very good potential for breaking into the first team in the coming future. Joined United as a Trainee at the age of 15, he is known for his versatility in defence, in addition to the midfield skills. He was also nominated twice for the Reserve Player of the year, first losing out to Richard Eckersley, and then to James Chester. Capped 5 times for England at the Under 21 level, he is currently on a hot streak with Watford, making 21 appearances and scoring 8 goals, earning a lot of recognition from the Watford manager too and making him one to watch out for.

8. Rodrigo Possebon

Position – Midfielder, Age – 20 , Loan Club – Sporting Braga

Brazilian born, he joined United in January 2008, and immediately made his debut for the reserves in February. Made his senior team debut in August 2008 as a substitute in a 1-1 draw with Newcastle, he has been fairly impressive generally, notably in the Vodacom Challenge in South Africa, and featured in all the Carling Cup squads in 2008/09 season to pick up his Winners’ medal.

Though he is Brazilian born, he qualified for an Italian passport due to his father’s Italian descent, and has been capped once for the Italian Under-20s. Signed a season-long loan deal with Portuguese club Sporting Braga in July 2009, but has made only 1 appearance for them in the Continental Cup.


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