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Our Youth on Loan

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Romelu Lukaku has enjoyed significant time on the pitch in a West Bromwich Albion team enjoying a good start to the season. The Belgian striker scored the only goal of the game in last month's win over Reading - his second for the club - and while he has only managed to start one league game, he has consistently come off the bench in the latter stages of matches to have an impact, and he continues to improve under the guidance of former Chelsea man Steve Clarke.

His fellow countrman, Kevin De Bruyne [pictured below], has played a prominent role in Werder Bremen's opening to the campaign, starting all eight league games on the left of midfield, while also chipping in with a credible three goals. The weekend's 4-0 win over Borussia Monchengladbach saw the youngster walk away with the man of the match award in a display which had the German media eulogising about the 21-year-old. He also scored his first international goal this month.

Yossi Benayoun made his first start for West Ham United in Saturday's 4-1 win over Southampton at Upton Park. The Israeli played the full 90 minutes, capping a solid display by teeing up Modibo Maiga for the final goal. He'd made the first appearance of his second spell with the club as a substitute in the goalless draw away at Norwich City last month.

Michael Essien [below] has been used sparingly by Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid, but the Ghanaian midfielder played the full 90 minutes in last weekend's 2-0 home win over Celta Vigo. He also started in the 3-2 Champions League win against Manchester City, while coming on as a late substitute for Angel Di Maria in the recent 2-2 draw with Barcelona at the Camp Nou.

Staying in Spain, Thibaut Courtois, who finished last season with a Europa League winners' medal, is once again performing regularly and consistently for Atletico Madrid who have made an excellent start to the campaign. Currently level on points with table-toppers Barcelona, Atletico are eight points clear of their more illustrious neighbours Real Madrid, with Courtois keeping three clean sheets from their opening eight games.

Since moving to the Riverside Stadium back in August, Josh McEachran has started every league game for Tony Mowbray's Middlesbrough, and while his passing ability and ball retention has never been in question, the defensive side of his game appears to be improving as he continues to play regular first team football.

Elsewhere in the Championship, Nathaniel Chalobah has flourished since linking up with Stamford Bridge legend Gianfranco Zola at Watford. The 17-year-old midfielder began his time at Vicarage Road on the bench, but has since become a regular starter following a string of impressive displays, although he was shown a red card having collected two yellows in their most recent game, a 2-1 defeat at Cardiff on Tuesday night.

Sam Hutchinson's spell at Nottingham Forest got off to a decent start, and the young right-back netted what proved to be the winner at the end of a flowing move against Charlton [below]. However, just as the 23-year-old appeared to have made the position his own, he was struck down with injury and is currently out of action.

Ben Gordon, meanwhile, currently on-loan at Birmingham City, has made just one start for Lee Clark's men, the 2-0 opening-day defeat at Watford.

Vitesse Arnhem have made a decent start to the campaign and are currently third in Holland. Tomas Kalas has continued where he left off at the end of last season and is a regular at the heart of the defence, having started all nine league games thus far, as well as scoring his first goal for the club in a 3-0 win at FC Groningen.

Patrick van Aanholt, also on-loan at Vitesse, has followed suit and is impressing again in his home country, missing only one game so far this season, although our third player on-loan at the club, Gael Kakuta, is yet to feature.

Amin Affane, who was part of last season's FA Youth Cup-winning squad, scored his first goal for Roda JC in the Dutch Eredivisie at the end of September. The right-sided attacker has been used most often as an impact substitute but has started two games, against Utrecht and AZ Alkmaar.

Dutch defender Jeffrey Bruma was a second-half substitute for Hamburg in their 1-0 weekend win at SpVgg Greuther Firth, replacing Rafael van der Vaart in the closing stages, his fourth appearance of the season.

Thorgan Hazard, younger brother of Eden, made his first appearance for Zulte Waregem, who are based in his native Belgium, in their 1-0 win at Oud-Heverlee Leuven, and has held down a regular place since.

Bristol Rovers may be struggling in League Two, but goalkeeper Sam Walker, on-loan at the Memorial Stadium until January, has firmly established himself as first-choice, starting six matches so far this season.

In Portugal, both Milan Lalkovic and Matej Delac are currently on-loan at Vitoria Guimaraes. Lalkovic has appeared five times from the substitutes' bench, most recently in the 2-0 home defeat against SC Braga, while goalkeeper Delac played his first game at the weekend in a 6-1 thumping of Vilaverdense in the Portuguese Cup.

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Chelsea's Sam Hutchinson loan at Nottingham Forest may end early

Nottingham Forest boss Sean O'Driscoll says injured Chelsea defender Sam Hutchinson may return to the Premier League club in January.

The 23-year-old joined the Reds on a season-long loan but has been sidelined with a knee injury and has now been ruled out until at least mid-December.

O'Driscoll told BBC Radio Nottingham: "The decision is whether he goes back to Chelsea or we keep him.

"But if he's not going to play, to be brutally honest, he's no good for us."

Hutchinson, who retired from football in August 2010 because of a knee injury, hurt his other knee in Forest's game against Crystal Palace in September.

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Frank said the same at the beginning of the season...said he was always staying behind with him and didier working on touch and finishing. Been unreal from what I have seen of him at west brom just needs to work on his finishing, lacks a bit of finesse

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Got to say, Mowbray is a decent coach and is saying all the right things and things that I want to see from Josh as well. The fact he can drift past 4 or 5 players but is only doing it in flashes and if he wants to be playing for a club like Chelsea he is going to have to show more. Like the fact that Mowbray has seen this and goes on to say how he wants to see Josh pick the ball up, travel with it and go past people then look to slip the ball into a forward – that’s exactly what he is capable of and what we need to see more of. He’s got the ability, it now comes down to gaining for confidence and experience.


I’ll be disappointed if he doesn’t come back in January, especially as we now have no Romeu and Mikel will be off to the ACN and he could have got some Europa Cup games at the very least but maybe playing week in, week out for Boro will be better for his long-term development.

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Having moved to West Bromwich Albion on a season-long loan at the beginning of the campaign, Romelu Lukaku continues to go from strength to strength under the guidance of Steve Clarke at the Hawthorns.


The Baggies have been one of the form teams in the first half of the season, and the Belgian striker has played a key role in taking them to seventh place. After scoring on his debut, a 3-0 opening-day win against Liverpool, he has gone on to score seven times, including the winner in their 2-1 win against Norwich City three days before Christmas.


Early in the season Lukaku had to be content with cameo substitute appearances, but such has been his impact, he has forced his way into the side, becoming a regular starter of late.



His compatriot, Kevin De Bruyne, has also enjoyed a decent end to 2012, while representing Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga.


The 21-year-old has netted four times since moving to Germany, with his most recent goal, an 82nd-minute strike, proving decisive in a 2-1 win against Fortuna Dusseldorf, and he has featured on a regular basis, ironically helping fill the void left by Marko Marin.


His versatility in attack has seen De Bruyne play in a number of different positions, including as a central striker in Bremen's away defeat at Borussia Dortmund.



Josh McEachran [pictured below] is another player who has flourished since gaining regular first team football, impressing in the heart of midfield for Middlesbrough as they bid to regain their top-flight status.



The 19-year-old, who has made 23 appearances, has been playing alongside Grant Leadbitter in Tony Mowbray's preferred 4-4-2 formation, a role which has seen the defensive side of his game improve, and thus far, it's a move which has proved mutually beneficial.



Nathaniel Chalobah joined Gianfranco Zola's Watford earlier in the season, and while the midfielder was originally scheduled to come back to Stamford Bridge this month, the move has yielded such success that he has now extended his stay at Vicarage Road until the end of the season.


Chalobah has, more often than not, been deployed as a lone defensive midfielder, and while the one blemish on his time at the club was a red card against Cardiff City, he has also got forward enough to find the back of the net twice, most recently against Burnley. He has made 18 appearances for the Hornets thus far.



Sam Hutchinson, meanwhile, whose time at Nottingham Forest got off to a fantastic start, has been out of action since September after sustaining a knee injury.


The defender had established himself in the side at right-back prior to his setback, and scored a crucial goal in the 2-1 win against Charlton at the City Ground.


However, he has recently returned to training and will be hopeful of enjoying an injury-free second half of the season.



Over in Spain, Michael Essien, currently on a season-long loan with Real Madrid, has been in and out of Jose Mourinho's side, making six league starts for the Spanish champions who currently trail table-toppers Barcelona by 16 points.


The Ghanaian played the full 90 minutes in Madrid's 3-2 defeat at Malaga shortly before Christmas, and scored his only goal in a 4-0 win over Real Zaragoza back in November.


Chelsea supporters are well aware of Essien's ability to play in different positions, and since moving to Madrid, as well as his usual midfield role, he has also played at both right-back and left-back, earning rave reviews for one performance in particular, the 2-0 win against Celta Vigo.



Elsewhere in La Liga, Thibaut Courtois [pictured below], currently enjoying a second season on loan at Atletico Madrid, continues to impress, playing in all but one of their league games so far this season.




At present, Atletico look to be the one team who could possibly keep pace with Barcelona domestically, but while their attack, as we found out to our cost, are capable of scoring goals at any time, defensively they have been equally sound, with Courtois playing an instrumental role, keeping eight clean sheets.



Since moving back home, Thorgan Hazard has enjoyed a good start to his spell with SV Zulte Waregem in the Belgian top flight.


Eden's younger brother has been primarily deployed on the left of midfield, although he likes to drift slightly deeper and dictate the flow of the game with his excellent range of passing.


So far, he has scored two goals for Waregem, but having also made his Belgium Under-21s debut earlier in the season, he will certainly be pleased with his progress to date.



Patrick Bamford [pictured below] made an instant impact after moving to MK Dons, earning the plaudits of manager Karl Robinson following his debut performance in a 5-1 win against Colchester United.


However, after suffering with a hamstring problem, his involvement was limited, and he went on to make only one more appearance for the club, the Boxing Day defeat at Walsall, where a reckless challenge forced Bamford out of the action with 10 minutes remaining.


Bamford is scheduled to return to Chelsea next week.





Young right-back Todd Kane has been gaining invaluable experience on loan at Preston North End in League One. Our Under-21s captain moved to Deepdale in November and has made three league starts, as well as featuring in their 2-0 FA Cup second round win over Gillingham. Kane is also scheduled to return to Chelsea early next week.



Goalkeeper Sam Walker made 11 league appearances over the course of the first half of the season for Bristol Rovers, although he was unable to prevent them from slipping into the relegation zone prior to his return to Chelsea, while Conor Clifford made only one appearance as a substitute during his time at Crawley Town.



Left-back Ben Gordon has returned to the club following a loan spell at Birmingham City, where he made only one appearance, the opening-day defeat to Watford.



Meanwhile, Archange Nkumu's loan spell at Colchester United was cut short after the 19-year-old suffered a bad run of injuries. He returned to Stamford Bridge a month earlier than planned.



Tomas Kalas continues to grow in stature while on loan at Vitesse Arnhem in the Eredivisie, playing in every league game this season so far.

The Czech defender, enjoying a second season with the Dutch side, also netted his first goal for the club in a 3-0 win against FC Groningen. 


Patrick van Aanholt, also in his second season at the club, has been a regular in the side as well, playing in all but one league game.



Gael Kakuta, meanwhile, our third player on loan at Vitesse, has steadily improved with every appearance, after injury delayed his involvement at the start of the season.


The 21-year-old has been used as a winger - on both flanks - and a central-midfielder, and has become an important member of a squad currently in fifth position.



Kenneth Omeruo is also enjoying his time in Holland. The Nigerian defender is currently on loan at ADO Den Haag for a second successive season, and has been a regular at the heart of the defence, featuring in all but one league game.



Jeffrey Bruma has struggled to find any sort of momentum while on loan at Hamburg, largely due to misfortune with injuries. The defender made his first league start since September in last month's 1-1 draw with Wolfsburg, although he has been featuring regularly as a substitute.



Currently on loan at his former club,Larje-Angereds I.F, Anjur Osmanovic, a creative midfielder, will be hoping for a fruitful second half of the season which will stand him in good stead before he heads back to Stamford Bridge.



Amin Affane, who was part of the team which won last season's FA Youth Cup, will be pleased with his involvement since joining Roda JC in Holland at the start of the season.


The Swedish winger, who scored his only goal for the club back in September, has made eight league starts for Roda, while also being used as an impact substitute on a regular basis.



Both Milan Lalkovic and goalkeeper Matej Delac are currently gaining experience in Portugal at Vitoria Guimaraes, but with starts being limited for both players, they will undoubtedly be eager to force their way into the side in the second half of the season.



Ulises Davilla is reaping the benefits of playing regular first team football after a disappointing spell with Vitesse last season. The Mexican attacker is on loan at Sabadell in Spain, and has been enjoying a solid run in the side. So far, he has made 15 appearances and scored five goals.

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Good read, I have heard from my mate who's a Middlesbrough fan that the rumours are that we're going to be recalling Josh. I wouldn't be surprised with us only having Ramires, Luiz and Lamps fighting for the midfield places with Mikel off to ACON, Romeu out til the end of the season and Essien out on loan. 

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I cannot believe just how many players we have on loan now!


I know. The way things are going we could probably create a Chelsea B and a Chelsea C team as well.


I can't help feeling that maybe we should start thinking of selling some players.

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Anyone else heard that Boro are  worried that Josh may be coming back in January?  Is this due to Mikel leaving for the ACON?


Is Mikel even going to ACN? Isn't he injured?

Even if he goes we have four players who can cover the two cm positions, so would it really be worth it bringing Josh back?

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