Loan transfers are part and parcel of today’s game and Championship clubs tend to get the cream of the crop from teams in the Premier League.
With us now five games into the 2022/23 Football League season, here are five loan stars who have impressed more than most in the Championship so far…
Taylor Harwood-Bellis – Burnley (loan from Man City)
It felt inevitable that the young centre-back would join Burnley this summer, given he was previously managed by Vincent Kompany at Anderlecht.
Harwood-Bellis has a lot to do to replicate the Man City legend’s achievements, but he is at least making positive early steps.
The 20-year-old showed what he can do at Stoke at the end of last season, and he has continued that form at the start of the 2022/23 campaign.
Burnley’s favoured back four is one of the best in the division so it is a credit to Harwood-Bellis that up to now he has outshone Connor Roberts, Ian Maatsen and Charlie Taylor.
You could even argue that Harwood-Bellis has been the standout centre-back in the league as a whole alongside Sheffield United’s Anel Ahmedhodzic.
The reputation of Man City’s academy is growing, with Harwood-Bellis on track to be one of their latest success stories.
A full season with Burnley will prepare him for a step up to the Premier League in 2023/24, whether Kompany guides the Clarets to promotion or not.
Ryan Giles – Middlesbrough (loan from Wolves)
The 22-year-old is one of the most exciting young wing-backs coming through and he also already has vast experience in spells at Cardiff City, Blackburn Rovers and Rotherham United.
Giles grabbed nine assists in the Championship for Cardiff last season so Middlesbrough have pulled off a bit of a coup to get him through the door.
His creativity down the flank will be key as Chris Wilder looks to guide Boro back to the big time. But this mission has not got off to the best start, with Middlesbrough without a win in five games.
Giles has not fully found his feet yet, but his past success in the Championship should make him a perfect fit for Wilder’s preferred 3-5-2 formation.
Wilder has a brilliant record in the Championship and he has put together a squad with an abundance of quality. Expect both Middlesbrough and Giles to grow into the campaign.
The Englishman will find it hard to dislodge Rayan Ait Nouri at Wolves, so a permanent deal for Giles to Boro could be in the offing if they end up in a higher division by August 2023.
Charlie Cresswell – Millwall (loan from Leeds United)
Leeds United and Millwall are not the best of friends but the London club have already taken in Cresswell as one of their own.
No doubt this was helped by the centre-back scoring two headers in his debut against Stoke City (if Carlsberg did debuts).
As a defender myself, there is not much better than seeing a marauding big man netting a brace via a couple of towering headers. Not to say that’s something I ever managed, mind.
Cresswell did himself no harm in appearances in the Premier League for Leeds last term and he has been earmarked as a future mainstay in their defence.
He may have to wait a couple of years for that, but he is certainly one of the best of a large crop of players coming through at Elland Road.
Millwall are fully established as a Championship club and they will rightly fancy themselves to sneak into the play-offs come May.
Cresswell is ahead of others his age in that he is a player beyond his years in terms of his build and a season working under Gary Rowett will do him the world of good.
A few more goals would not go amiss either.
Ellis Simms – Sunderland (loan from Everton)
The Everton youngster was highly sought-after earlier this summer and his start to life as a Sunderland player has proved why that was the case.
After five years dwindling away in League One, Black Cats supporters would surely be happy with a season of consolidation in the Championship this time around.
But on early evidence, they are capable of much more than that. Two wins, two draws and one defeat places them fifth after five games.
Simms has been key to their success as he has been quick to strike up a dangerous partnership with Ross Stewart. The latter scored 26 goals in League One last term, and he has taken to the Championship like a duck to water.
Together, Simms (three goals) and Stewart (three goals, two assists) have been involved in eight goals. If they can keep going, Sunderland will benefit from having one of the division’s most prolific forward lines.
Everton have been plagued by their striker woes so far this season and they could have done a lot worse than keeping Simms. At least then they would not have to play Anthony Gordon (£60m?!) or Demarai Gray up there.
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Hamza Choudhury – Watford (loan from Leicester City)
The 24-year-old has always been highly-rated during his time at Leicester, but he has been unable to establish himself as a regular under Brendan Rodgers.
Just six Premier League appearances in 2021/22 tell their own story as Choudhury has now moved elsewhere for more game time.
It would not have been too much of a stretch for Choudhury to temporarily join a bottom-half top-flight club, so Watford have done well to get him for the season.
The Hornets have only conceded once in three games with Choudhury in the team and the defensive midfielder put in a man-of-the-match-worthy display in Watford’s 1-0 win over Burnley.
With Emmanuel Dennis already gone, it is yet to be seen if Ismaila Sarr and Joao Pedro will also depart before September 1.
Potentially without significant firepower with those three, Watford will have to rely on the resoluteness of their defence if they are going to continue the yo-yo train via promotion.
They are looking good in that sense, as they have only let in two goals in five games.
You will struggle to find a better defensive midfielder in the league than Choudhury, who will just love playing games again.
Watford’s track record suggests that they may go through three-plus managers this term, but Choudhury will be one constant for the club in that midfield.