Loan Roundup: December 26
Posted by nickogs20 on December 27, 2010
Boxing Day football is one the great traditions of the English game but with the continued wintry weather rendering this year’s slate of fixtures something of a damp (or icy) squib, only three of United’s loanees had the chance to run off the turkey and trimmings this weekend…
Tom Cleverley was one of that trio and he continues to make a big impact in the top flight with lowly Wigan Athletic, his clinically-finished goal at Molineux ultimately proving to be the winner as the Latics picked up a huge away win against relegation rivals Wolves. That strike, coolly slotted away between the legs of goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey from fellow goalscorer Hugo Rodallega’s deft through ball, gave the 21 year-old his third in four games after an injury-disrupted start to his time at the DW Stadium.
With Ji-Sung Park away on Asian Cup duty with South Korea for the next month and Nani nursing a hip injury (albeit one not thought to be long-term), speculation is predictably increasing about the possibility of Sir Alex Ferguson recalling Tom to bolster his wide midfield options over the second half of the campaign. Whether the Reds boss chooses to take that decision or not, the England U21 youngster is certainly looking right at home on the Premier League stage and making it tough for the Scotsman to ignore him.
Also in action was Cameron Stewart, another loanee who’s been in fine form recently. Perhaps the surprise loan story of the season so far, the 19 year-old has gone from a frustrating spell predominantly on the sidelines with Yeovil in League One to playing a key role for an improving Hull City side in the Championship in the space of a couple of months.
The former England U19 winger set up two goals for striker Jay Simpson last week and what looks like the makings of a productive partnership in attack for the Tigers was evident again in the first half against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane. Stewart’s pace allowed him to beat Nyron Nosworthy to the byline and lay the opening goal on a plate for Simpson, before a slide rule pass from the young Mancunian sent Simpson clear and led to the award of a penalty that the former Arsenal trainee confidently struck past Blades keeper Steve Simonsen.
Nigel Pearson’s Hull side looked to have surrendered the initiative after a double from Ched Evans left the home side looking the more likely winners, but Stewart had something extra up his sleeve deep into injury time. Vito Mannone’s quick throw gave the speedster the chance to run at Nosworthy again and his pace was too much for the defender to handle, space opening up for the teenager to take aim at the far corner from an angle. Simonsen did well to beat away Stewart’s shot, but Jimmy Bullard – on his return from injury – was on hand to tuck away the rebound and seal an impressive win for the Tigers. Unbeaten in seven, Hull sit within striking distance of the playoff positions and – loan now extended until the end of the season – Cameron has the chance to emulate Fraizer Campbell in helping push the KC Stadium outfit towards promotion to the top flight.
Less full of festive cheer was Mame Biram Diouf, who continued as a starter under new manager Steve Kean but could do little to prevent Blackburn falling to a miserable 2-0 defeat at home to Stoke City. The Senegalese striker fashioned one first-half chance for strike partner Nikola Kalinic and hit the target himself from a couple of chances after the break, but Potters keeper Asmir Begovic was in truth hardly troubled by either effort and it was generally a frustrating afternoon for the 23 year-old. Goals from Robert Huth and Marc Wilson consigned Rovers to a third home defeat of the campaign.
The remainder of United’s loanees were left kicking their heels, predominantly due to the weather. The exceptions were Danny Welbeck – who was ineligible for selection as Sunderland were comfortably beaten by his parent club at Old Trafford – and Danny Drinkwater, who missed Cardiff’s 2-0 home win against Coventry due to a virus.
Tom Cleverley (Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-2 Wigan Athletic) – 90 mins, 1 goal
Mame Biram Diouf (Blackburn Rovers 0-2 Stoke City) – 90 mins
Danny Welbeck (Manchester United 2-0 Sunderland) – Ineligible
Ritchie de Laet (Scunthorpe United vs Preston North End) – Game postponed
Danny Drinkwater (Cardiff City 2-0 Coventry City) – Out due to illness
Matty James (Scunthorpe United vs Preston North End) – Game postponed
Joshua King (Scunthorpe United vs Preston North End) – Game postponed
Cameron Stewart (Sheffield United 2-3 Hull City) – 90 mins, 2 assists
James Chester (Oldham Athletic vs Carlisle United) – Game postponed
Scott Wootton (Tranmere Rovers vs Sheffield Wednesday) – Game postponed
Nicky Ajose (Shrewsbury Town vs Bury) – Game postponed