Updated: Jul 2, 2020
There has been an ongoing debate, especially over the past few years, to whether Premier League youth team players would be better off playing within a club's Under 23 system or spending time out on loan at either a Football League or Non League club. Many within the game, would advise a player to head out on loan and experience competitive football. The facilities at a top level Premier League sides, or even some Championship sides, may help develop a player's technical ability, however the lack of competitive edge may hinder a player's progression.
Due to the colossal amounts of money within football, especially the Premier League, youth players can be earning £10,000+ a week, meaning youth players may not even be interested in spending time out on loan to lower league sides.
Within this article, we have picked 7 Premier League stars who spent time out on loan at EFL sides, before breaking into the first team squads on their return and are now featuring regularly in the Premier League.
Image credit: The Times
Harry Kane, 26, is the current England captain and a regular goalscorer for Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League. After progressing through the youth levels at Spurs, the nomadic centre forward, 17 at the time, moved on loan to then League One side Leyton Orient. Kane impressed for The Orient, scoring 5 times in his 18 appearances for the club. Loan moves at Millwall, Norwich City and Leicester City materialised after this loan spell. After these successful loan spells, Kane returned to Tottenham before eventually breaking into the first team picture. At the time of writing this article, Harry Kane has scored 136 goals for Tottenham in less than 200 appearances. Kane was named England captain by manager Gareth Southgate and has gone on to gain 46 caps, scoring 32 goals. In 2020, it was announced that Harry Kane will be the new sponsor of Leyton Orient's first team kit.
Image credit: Liverpool Echo
Adam Lallana, 32, started his career at AFC Bournemouth before moving to Southampton at the age of 12, where he featured regularly at youth team levels. After signing his first professional contract, Lallana moved back on loan to AFC Bouremouth in 2007. After a short loan spell with The Cherries, Lallana returned to Southampton and began to feature on a regular basis. After a successful 8 seasons with the club, Lallana signed for Premier League giants Liverpool for a fee of £25 million. Lallana has featured 33 times for England, scoring 3 goals in the process.
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Jack Grealish, 24, is one of the highest sought after players in the Premier League, with Manchester United rumoured to be interested in the attacking midfielder. After impressing for Aston Villa at youth level, Grealish moved to League One side Notts County in 2014. Grealish featured 38 times for the Magpies, scoring five goals and grabbing seven assists. On his return to Aston Villa, Grealish made his debut soon after. Jack Grealish was named Aston Villa captain in 2019. At the the time of writing, he has appeared 149 times for the club, scoring 22 goals. Grealish has yet to be capped for England, however has impressed greatly for a struggling Aston Villa side.
Image credit: The Sun
Jordan Pickford, 26, started his career at Sunderland before spending time out on loan at a number of teams within the EFL and Conference. Pickford featured for Darlington, Alfreton, Burton Albion, Carlisle, Bradford City and Preston North End before returning to the Stadium Of Light to cement his place as Sunderland's number 1 goalkeeper. By the age of 21, after making his Sunderland debut, Pickford has featured in the top five leagues of English football. In June 2017, Pickford signed for Everton for a fee of £30 million. Pickford has gone on to feature for England 24 times.
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Ross Barkley, 26, is currently plying his trade for Premier League giants Chelsea. Born in Liverpool, Barkley started his career at Everton and went on to make 150 appearances for the side before moving to Chelsea. However, before breaking into the Everton first team, Barkley spent two loans deals in The Championship, one with Leeds United and one with Sheffield Wednesday. After impressing in both loan spells, Barkley broke into the Everton first team picture, as well as the England national team. Barkley has been capped 33 times and scored 6 goals for his country.
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Andros Townsend, 28, started off his career at Tottenham Hotspur and impressed regularly for Spurs' youth team and reserves. Despite impressing, Townsend was still quite a way from the first team picture at Tottenham. Over three seasons, Townsend spent 9 separate loan moves away from the club. Townsend's loan deals took him to the play in League Two, League One and The Championship before returning to Tottenham in 2013. Townsend featured 50 times for the club, before moving to fellow Premier League side Newcastle worth £12 million. After failing to help Newcastle beat relegation to The Championship, Townsend stayed in the Premier League, moving to Crystal Palace for £13 million. At the time of writing, Townsend has played 125 for the London side, as well as being capped 13 times for England.
Image credit: Oldham Chronicle
Ryan Bertrand, 30, started his career at Gillingham, however was purchased by Premier League giants Chelsea at the age of 15. After progressing through the youth team, Bertrand spent time out on loan at AFC Bournemouth, Oldham Athletic, Norwich City, Reading and Nottingham Forest. On his return to Chelsea, Bertrand started in the Champions League final against Bayern Munich, a match which Bertrand impressed greatly and Chelsea went on to win. After a loan spell at Aston Villa, Bertrand left Chelsea in 2015 on a permanent deal to join fellow Premier League side Southampton. Bertrand has been capped 19 times by England, scoring once in 2017 against Malta.
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