Loan deals in football remain a crap shoot. Despite the best of intentions — and in some cases, contractual commitments — to the loanee’s playing time at his new club, the reality of the results-based industry that is professional football wins through, and long-term development is shelved in favour of immediate success. Thus, young players not quite ready to earn minutes at the very top level — the main commodity in the loan market — end up wasting away on the bench of lower-end clubs.
Occasionally, though, they work out exquisitely. Take, for instance, Hull City, who — following their relgation from the Premier League the previous season — found themselves in the relegation zone of the Championship at the end of January. Despite their upper-mid tier wage bill and supposedly Premier League-ish talent level, the Tigers simply weren’t getting results.
Meanwhile, in the Premier league, Liverpool had an abundance of gifted youngsters who wouldn’t be making the matchday squad for the senior side with an regularity, and who were deemed too good for U-21 football. Ryan Kent, Ovie Ejaria, Harry Wilson were looking for temporary homes, and in the case of the latter, Hull City manager Nigel Adkins saw a potential match.
It’s proven accurate, and the young Welshman has enjoyed a tremendous spell in Yorkshire. After airing out his pipes and showing off his dance moves during his initiation, Wilson has scored three goals — including the game winner in a 4-3 comeback win over Norwich — and assisted two in only five league appearances for his new club, good for a goal or assist every 60 minutes. The Tigers have won every match the 20-year old has started, and now sit comfortably in in 17th, nine points and five spots clear of the relegation zone.
Playing on the left wing of Adkins’ 4-2-3-1, Wilson has largely ousted Kamil Grosicki — veteran of 55 international caps for Poland — and contributes to the Tigers’ offense both by running at defenders — as evidenced by his 2 penalties earned — setting up teammates, and finishing off attacking moves by getting into dangerous areas.
Having reportedly signed a new long-term deal with his parent club before moving on loan, Wilson will feel good about his prospects at Anfield, and if he can keep up even half the pace he’s set for himself to end the season, he’ll give Jürgen Klopp something to think about when the German draws up his transfer plans for the summer.