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Lee Clark: Kenedy & the Loan Market; Can Man City emulate Fergie era?; Next stop for Babel

What's happened with Kenedy at Newcastle is not unusual for loan players, and the young ones especially have ups and downs all season.

He was fantastic in his first loan spell, but he came back and followed the way Newcastle were going at the start of the season, which was not playing particularly well. Part of the problem was that he tried to change the dynamics of his game. When he first arrived he was an out and out winger, going on the outside and beating his fullback and getting lots of crosses in. However, the Brazilian seemed to lose a bit of confidence doing that and started to come inside quite a bit with the ball and running into more traffic than when he was one-on-one with the fullback.

Also since Almiron has come into the club, he has been terrific with Perez and Rondon. Those three have changed the outlook of the team and made them more attack minded, in that they are able to play quickly on the counter attack, which has made it even more difficult for Kenedy to get in.

It's hard for loan players when you're moving to another part of the country, in Kenedy's case from London to the North East. He's wondering whats going to happen with Chelsea - are they going to keep him or loan him out again for another season - so there's a lot for him to contend with at such a young age.



THE LOAN SYSTEM AS A MANAGER

When you're a manager with loan players, it can be really difficult. I've had success in the loan market but I've had some ones that haven't proved fruitful.

The ones that have proved positive are the ones who have made themselves feel like that they belong to that football club. The ones for me that behaved like they were there solely to push their career along and weren't particularly interested in the club, no matter what situation they were in, eventually didn't become successful. To them it wasn't their problem because they were going back to their parent club so they never put themselves in the group or bought into the ethos of that club.

But the ones who were successful for me in loan deals certainly did. They behaved like they belonged, like they never wanted to go back to their parent club. They showed that in their actions; the attitude in training, their work in the local community and all around the football club. It goes hand in hand for me really.

The Premier League clubs were first-class when I was managing their loan players. The big managers were also brilliant. I worked with Sir Alex Ferguson over Danny Drinkwater, David Moyes with Jesse Lingard, Arsene Wenger with Benik Afobe. I kept in touch personally with all the managers. We continuously sent them data about what the players were up too, how they were performing, sending them footage, sending their physical data etc. We always kept in touch.

All they expected was to get their young lads experience playing first-team football, to get them experience in being part of a winning environment, to improve them as players and as people. That was always a big focus and the managers were always terrific in the work we done. I dealt with Sir Alex all the way through the process with Drinkwater, he dealt with it from start to finish and was absolutely brilliant. Obviously Wenger was the same when with Afobe, David Moyes, Sam Allardyce, many, many managers were fantastic and they understood when things didn't work out.




WHY MAN CITY CAN EMULATE MAN UTD

The United team I played against were phenomenal. They had so many world-class players in defence, midfield and attack. The area I deployed myself, in midfield, I was coming up against the Roy Keane, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and David Beckham's of this world. You're talking top of the tree, absolute top of the tree. When I talk about Keane and Scholes I'd put them as two of the best players I ever faced. They were a phenomenal outfit.

I think Manchester City, when I look at them, they have unbelievable players, an unbelievable coach in Pep Guardiola, just like Sir Alex and his team. For them to be put alongside that Man Utd team they have to be consistently winning trophies, which it looks like they are going to be doing, even though Liverpool are a threat.

They've already got a trophy with the League Cup and are in the final of the FA Cup. They need to be consistently winning in the same way that the Man Utd team of that era did. They consistently won the league, they were always bringing in domestic cups, European trophies etc. You listen to the mentality of the former players now, who are mostly all pundits or managers, and it was all about that winning mentality. It was always 'we've done well this season but thats now gone, it's next season that matters, can we go and win something again?'

And I can see Manchester City doing that. I can see the drive in the manager, I can see the drive in the players. They have the same mentality, they win the trophy they are competing for and quickly forget about it and onto the next one. It's just pure desire and drive to be the best in every thing they do. And if they can clinch the title this season and fight off a great Liverpool side, I think City have the opportunity to go the level of that United team from the 1990's/early 2000s.




FULHAM COULD LOSE BABEL TO PREMIER LEAGUE

Ryan Babel has come in and made a positive impact for Fulham, despite their misfortune. He's been part of the team that has picked up points recently in some impressive wins.

He is a player who knows the Premier League so I think there will be some suitors this summer because he has experience and knows what the competition is about, so it wouldn't be a huge risk for clubs. We all know his ability and I think his returned to English football and reminded everyone of that.

I would imagine there would be one or two clubs having a look to keep him in the Premier League because in a short space of time, when he's had a run of games and developed a rhythm, he's certainly looked a strong acquisition for Fulham. I think they might want to keep him but it'd be difficult while they are competing in the Championship.

Lee Clark
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Lee Clark

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