A qualitative exploration of the use of player loans to supplement the talent development process of professional footballers in the under 23 age group of English football academies
AffiliationUniversity of Derby
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AbstractA range of literature has contributed to talent development and career transition in professional football. Recently, attention has shifted to the under 23s age group of English football academies, highlighting limitations in the efficacy of this age group in developing professional footballers. Such limitations have led to players going on loan to football clubs in lower divisions to supplement their development; however, we have yet to develop a scholarly understanding of this approach. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the role of an under 23s player loan in developing professional footballers. Using a qualitative design, data were collected through the use of semi-structured interviews with nine participants. Following a process of thematic analysis, findings highlighted the potential of a loan in contributing to a player’s physical and psycho-social development. Positive performances whilst on loan were also perceived to be contributing factors in increased first team selection opportunities at the player’s parent club. However, an emphasis was also placed on the need to provide consistent pastoral support to under 23s players during their loan period. Finally, more longitudinal methodologies are required to understand the individual and temporal nature of positive and negative loan experiences of under 23s players.
CitationPrendergast, G. and Gibson, L. (2021). 'A qualitative exploration of the use of player loans to supplement the talent development process of professional footballers in the under 23 age group of English football academies'. Journal of Sports Sciences, pp. 1-9.
JournalJournal of Sports Sciences