'Good loans are about playing games'

Saturday 20 January 2024 15:00

"As with all of the loans, the key is playing games."

That was the response of BBC journalist Simon Stone, when asked about how loan moves will benefit Manchester United's players.

Rhys Bennett was the latest Red to head out on a temporary move, when his transfer to Stockport County for the remainder of 2023/24 was confirmed on Friday.

The 20-year-old joins the likes of Hannibal, Alvaro Fernandez and Joe Hugill in heading out on loan for the rest of the season and, in the latest episode of The Debate, our panellists discussed how the moves will benefit our players.

How do loans help players? Video

How do loans help players?

The Debate: Hot topic | Gametime on loan is key to the development of young players, agree our panel...

"It does matter the level, but the level is secondary to playing games," added Stone to his earlier response.

"If you are at a good level but you're coming off the bench for a minute every game that's not actually furthering your career.

"The period between 18 and 22 is when you go from being a youngster with a lot of promise to being a professional footballer. You only get experience, you only get your development by playing games.

"If you bridge those four years and you have played 20 games and 10 of them have been as a sub in the last 15 minutes then you're not actually further on than you were four years earlier. And you are four years older.

"The good thing about Hugill [who scored on his debut for Burton Albion] is yes, he scored the goal, but he was on the pitch. That is the key element."

Former Red Brown agreed with Stone, specifically focusing on Hannibal's loan move to Sevilla.

"It's all about getting the minutes," he said.

"Hannibal is one of those players who is on the fringe. He's not quite getting into the first XI. 

"He needed to go out and get experience. At Sevilla you are hoping he plays all the time and then he excels. That's what you are hoping for.

"You learn a lot just by playing football against these teams and then you grow. And then it's about whether he excels and becomes a better player and does well for them and the team. I think he will, because we know how hard he works and what his determination is like."

Watch the latest episode of The Debate now.