Lower-division sides help young players develop and benefit from having them but there’s growing disquiet about demands that loanees play regardless of form
“You can get a player, an 18-year‑old who’s on 10 grand a week, and you do a deal with the club on his wages,” says Darragh MacAnthony. “Then they not only want the wages, they want you to pay for his accommodation. They’re then on you all the time about ‘Why is he playing?’, ‘Why is he not playing?’ They’re on at you every day. If the player then has an attitude issue and we go and complain they say: ‘Get on with it, you’re not sending him back, you’ve agreed a contract, pay his wages.’”
Forthright opinions, such as the one above, are hardly unusual for MacAnthony, but the Peterborough United chairman is not alone in being disgruntled with football’s loan system. This summer, EFL clubs struck a total of 254 loan deals, making up about one in seven of all players in the Football League. Last season, over the course of the year, 458 temporary arrangements were made. It is a crucial process within the English football pyramid but after the loan window came to an end last week smaller clubs are increasingly asking whether the system is working for them.
Related: More talent, fewer minutes: English players suffering in Premier League
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