Andrew Slevison gives us his take on the best young players on loan from Premier League clubs for the first half of the 2012/13 season.
We believe Chelsea pair Josh McEachran and Nathaniel Chalobah, Manchester United’s Robbie Brady, Manchester City’s Reece Wabara and Liverpool’s Jay Spearing have been the best-performed youngsters on loan thus far.
The 19-year old midfielder has been at the heart of Middlesbrough’s promotion push in the first part of the campaign.
England U21 international McEachran is on a season-long loan from Chelsea and has made 23 Championship appearances under Tony Mowbray who is keen to keep him for the entire duration.
“Josh is doing great for us and we obviously hope he can stay, but he's Chelsea's player,” he told the club’s official website.
Mowbray obviously has extremely high hopes for McEachran with comments he made in the Northern Echo indicating just that.
"I’ve said to him if he’s going to play for Chelsea’s first team and try to win European Cups, he has to have a bigger impact on our team in the Championship and I’m sure he can, as I’ve seen him do some amazing stuff in training,” he said.
"I think he can have that extra ingredient that can make a difference in games.”
McEachran spent time with Swansea City last season but it is at the Riverside Stadium where he is really rising to prominence as his future at Stamford Bridge continues to look rosy.
The Sierra Leone-born England youth international defender has been used as mainly a midfielder by Hornets boss Gianfranco Zola and is destined for big things according to teammate Alexandre Geijo.
"He is definitely a player who can play in the Premier League," Geijo said after Chalobah volleyed home the opener in Watford’s 1-1 draw with Burnley on December 15.
"He has quality and he is just 17. It is incredible. He has confidence, and no problem taking the ball and responsibility."
Chalobah has come through Chelsea’s academy before regularly captaining the clubs reserve and youth teams and is contracted at Stamford Bridge until 2014 after signing his first professional deal at the start of 2012.
The Republic of Ireland international is continuing to develop well with Hull City following his successful season-long spell at the KC Stadium last campaign.
The 20-year old Manchester United winger made a total of 41 appearances for the Tigers last term and has picked up where he left off in 2012/13 with a further 10 outings under Steve Bruce since returning in early November.
His creativity in attack has been lauded by Bruce on a number of occasions recently and his only goal of his second stint with Hull was a sublime 25-yard free-kick in the 2-1 win over Watford on December 8.
Brady, who made his debut for the Irish national team in September with a goal and two assists against Oman, has since taken his total to four international caps with two appearances in 2014 World Cup qualifying.
He admits he is loving life at Hull, especially under Bruce: “I’m really enjoying it,” he told the Hull and East Riding paper.
“I love coming out to play football and there’s no better place than doing it here with my mates. I’d love to carry on after January.
“The manager is great. Everything is in order and everyone knows what they’re doing. He’s been there and done it. Everyone knows what he’s done in his career.
“He’s been an unbelievable player and he’s carried that through into management. His record shows that and hopefully he can add another promotion to his tally this year.”
England U20 defender Wabara has been rolling along quite nicely with League One Oldham Athletic.
Generally a right-back, Wabara has been deputising at centre-half for Oldham due to injuries and suspension and has performed with aplomb, even scoring in a recent FA Cup victory over Doncaster Rovers, and receiving praise from Latics skipper Dean Furman.
"Reece has been tremendous for us," Furman told Press Association Sport. "He's stepped in at centre-back which he's not accustomed to.
"Obviously right-back is his preferred position and the partnership he's got with Lee Croft down the right-hand side is as good as any in this league, it's superb.
"He's got so much pace and he's a real threat going forward, but not at the expense of his defensive work.
"He's going to get better and better and is one of the brightest lads we've got in the dressing room."
You’d expect somebody with 30 games of Premier League experience to do well in the Championship and Bolton loanee Spearing is no exception.
The 24-year old Liverpool midfielder has been a staple at the Reebok Stadium since arriving from Liverpool on a season-long loan in August making 19 appearances in the league and has received a glowing appraisal from former Trotters star John McGinlay.
“Saw him give away the ball three times in the first half against Charlton (on December 15), which was very out of character, because I think he’s one of the best passers in the team right now,” McGinlay wrote for the Bolton News in giving him a ‘B+’ rating for the first half of the season.
“Always available to help out his team-mates in possession and is one of the all-rounders who has delivered consistently since he came in.
“I was amazed when he was pulled out of the team at first by the manager, but it seems he has a settled place now and I think he has been a good signing.”
It appears as though Spearing was surplus to new Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers’ requirements in the summer but hopefully in six months’ time, he will again be pushing for first team selection at Anfield.