Manchester United have always had a lot of promising youth players, and are never afraid to give them a loan spell. This season has been no different, with the addition of some more experienced players with temporary deals elsewhere. These are all of the Manchester United loanees following the close of the January transfer window, how they are doing and what their futures may hold.
How the Manchester United Loanees Are Doing
While many still consider him as a promising player, Cameron Borthwick-Jackson is actually 22-years-old and has not been the most successful on his recent loan moves. Borthwick-Jackson debuted for the United senior side in 2015/16 under Louis Van Gaal. The then young and promising fullback made 14 appearances as first-choice left-back while Luke Shaw recovered from a leg break. Despite this initial success, the young Englishman has since been cast aside.
Failed loan moves at Wolverhampton Wanderers, Leeds United, Scunthorpe United and most recently Tranmere Rovers followed this period of so much promise. United recalled Borthwick-Jackson from the most recent of these moves. With just three league appearances and only one full 90 minutes at struggling Tranmere, United saw fit to recall him.
Since then, he has joined Oldham Athletic on loan, where he will remain until the end of the season. Having failed to get a significant amount of game time in a struggling League One side, Cameron Borthwick-Jackson will hope to start regularly at a mid-table League Two team. It seems that this player, who once won Manchester United’s prestigious Young Player of the Year award, will not become a legend at Old Trafford, and may even leave this summer with interest from the MLS having arisen.
Ethan Hamilton is another Manchester United loanee who recently transferred clubs. He left League One side Southend United as they and United agreed to trigger a clause in the Scot’s contract. He had been fairly mediocre with the Shrimpers, but made consistent appearances, and even scored a goal before receiving a red card in the same game, an embarrassing loss to Doncaster Rovers.
The 21-year-old recently joined Bolton Wanderers on a short-term loan. The former Premier League side are currently facing relegation to the Football League’s lowest division having gone into administration at the end of last season. They sit rock bottom of the table, a massive 17 points from safety.
Hamilton will look to help them to safety, but this loan move looks to be one more focused on gaining experience. While Ethan Hamilton’s success at Old Trafford seems unlikely, it may still happen. He is 21 and is yet to have a chance to play in United’s first team. He may yet come through and impress us all.
One of Manchester United’s most promising players, let alone loanees, is Dean Henderson. The goalkeeper has been number one in goal for Sheffield United for two seasons running. In both of these campaigns, he has conceded fewer goals than games played, and kept an impressive amount of clean sheets. Henderson’s clean sheets were the most in the Championship last season, and this performance earned him a second season with the Blades.
One again, he is impressing and is joint first in the clean sheet table. The English goalkeeper is one of Sheffield United’s star players in a season where they are challenging for European football, and may even reach the Champions League. The side who were in the Championship last season are now in sixth, above Henderson’s parent club.
While Henderson wants consistent game time if he returns to Manchester United next season, another loan move looks unlikely with his undoubted quality and current form showing that it may be time for him to overthrow David de Gea as Manchester United’s number one.
The Manchester-born Irishman enjoyed a successful loan spell at Macclesfield Town last season, earning three individual awards. He helped them stay in the Football League, and has now stepped up from League Two to League One.
O’Hara is currently playing for Burton Albion who sit mid-table in the third division of English football. He has not missed a minute of a league game this season, with 36 total appearances in Staffordshire. The 23-year-old has played well this campaign, however being a year older than Dean Henderson and playing two divisions below him, Kieran O’Hara is not likely to become the first choice keeper at Manchester United.
The Manchester United loanees consist heavily of goalkeepers this season. Joel Castro Pereira joined Heart of Midlothian on a season-long loan in August 2019. Pereira will be looking to rival Dean Henderson as a future first-choice keeper at Old Trafford.
He may not be in the top flight of English football, but he is in that of Scotland. The Portuguese has played in nearly all of Hearts’ games this season but has kept just three clean sheets in the league. Hearts are struggling, however, and being second bottom is not helping Pereira’s chances of impressing his parent club.
The 23-year-old has not disappointed, however, he has not been outstanding. While it is unlikely that he will rival Dean Henderson next season, Joel Castro Pereira looks set to beat Kieran O’Hara to the position of United’s future back-up goalkeeper.
Marcos Rojo is the most recent player to have left Manchester United. The Argentine international joined boyhood club Estudiantes near the end of the January transfer window. Rojo made just three league appearances for United this season, playing only 120 minutes. While we do not know how he will fare, Rojo will probably get quite a lot of game time. The 29-year-old will try to reignite his career, however playing in a league not in Europe will make that task harder, and it is likely that Marcos Rojo’s peak has ended.
Alexis Sanchez is one of the three Manchester United players who have joined Inter Milan in the past six months, but he is the only one to have completed the move as a loan. Sanchez has been United’s least successful former player to have moved to Italy this season. He has struggled to find time on the pitch with injury having hampered much of his time there so far. The Chilean has three direct goal involvements in nine appearances in Milan but will be looking to return to the first team after returning from the sidelines.
Chris Smalling has succeeded tremendously since joining Roma on a season-long loan. He is a first-choice centre back in the Italian capital and has three direct goal involvements there. Smalling, who was the only English player in Série A until former United wing-back Ashley Young joined Inter Milan, has been one of the best players at Roma this season.
After having struggled to play consistently at United, they loaned him to Roma for a year in the hopes that it would revive his career and bring back his confidence. It has done exactly that.
Chris Smalling will return to Manchester in the summer challenging for a place as a starter. With United’s defence looking anything but solid, his return with this season’s boost may help Manchester United a lot.
The last of the Manchester United loanees is George Tanner. The Englishman was previously on loan at Morecambe, however, Untied recalled him in January. Tanner played well for the Shrimps, being their first-choice right-back. The 20-year-old impressed while in Morecambe, however with them struggling, United saw it appropriate to recall Tanner.
They then loaned him back out again quickly, though, this time to Salford City. While he is yet to debut for the club owned partially by United’s ‘Class of ‘92’, he could do well there. They are 11th in League Two, so Tanner will yet again be able to get experience there.
While Manchester United’s right-back position is currently filled by Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Tanner could certainly provide competition in the future.
Manchester United are well known for their incredible youth. With so many young talents having come through their system, and many currently rising, some of their current loanees could become club legends. Some of Manchester United’s loanees may not succeed. Some will, however, and being on loan can prove crucial to a player’s development.