Men's Team

Loan Round-Up: 2021/22 season

While City were on the way to another hat-trick of Premier League titles, some members of the squad were out getting vital first team experience.

With fierce competition for places at City, and players at different stages of their development, the loan system gives an opportunity to get a taste of senior football.

Whether it's performing in the lower leagues of the English pyramid or heading overseas, every player will take something away from stepping out of the CFA.

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And with City having retained all of the Premier League, Premier League 2 and Under-18 Premier League titles in 2021/22, the future is looking bright.

Here, in order of position, we take a look at how our loan players performed during the 2021/22 season.

We'll start with the goalkeepers.

Arijanet Muric

Club: Adana Demirspor

League appearances: 31

23-year-old goalkeeper Muric was clear first choice between the sticks for Adana Demirspor, who finished ninth in the Turkish Super Lig. In his 31 matches in the Turkish top flight, he kept nine clean sheets and conceded 38 times.

During the season, he has also featured in six World Cup qualifiers for Kosovo.

Gavin Bazunu

Club: Portsmouth

League appearances: 44

20-year-old goalkeeper Bazunu was named Players’ Player of the Year at Portsmouth, who finished 10th in League One. In his 44 appearances, he kept 16 clean sheets – the joint third most in the league.

He also established himself on the international stage, playing seven World Cup qualifiers for Republic of Ireland against the likes of Serbia and Portugal – most notably saving a penalty from Cristiano Ronaldo in September.

James Trafford

Club(s): Accrington Stanley, Bolton Wanderers

League appearances: 33

The 19-year-old goalkeeper played 11 times for Accrington Stanley before a January move to North West neighbours Bolton Wanderers, where he was undisputed first choice – playing 22 times.

He kept nine clean sheets across those 33 appearances in League One with Bolton finishing ninth and Accrington 12th. He is now in the squad for England U21s’ European Championship qualifiers.

BOLTON'S NUMBER ONE : James Trafford in action for the League One side
BOLTON'S NUMBER ONE : James Trafford in action for the League One side

Now it's the turn of the defenders...

Taylor Harwood-Bellis

Club(s): Anderlecht, Stoke City

League appearances: 38

Our 20-year-old central defender played 16 times for Belgian club Anderlecht, before a January switch to Championship side Stoke City, where he featured on 22 occasions.

He helped Anderlecht to third in the Jupiler Pro League and Stoke to 14th in the Championship and is now regularly involved with the England Under-21s.

Yeboah Amankwah

Club: Accrington Stanley

League appearances: 24

21-year-old defender Amankwah was used regularly throughout the League One season by mid-table Accrington Stanley.

His 24 appearances included games at centre back, left back and right back and consistent runs in the side, largely through October and January.

WATCH | City lift the Premier League 2 title!

Callum Doyle

Club: Sunderland

League appearances: 39

Having joined Sunderland when still just 17, Doyle made a big impact at a well-renowned club chasing promotion out of League One.

Although he was just a late substitute in the play-off successes, the toil of a long season in which he was heavily involved and the experience of those pressurised matches are sure to stand him in good stead as he develops.

DOYLE IN DEFENCE : Callum in action for Sunderland
DOYLE IN DEFENCE : Callum in action for Sunderland

Oscar Tarensi

Club: Girona II

League appearances: Five

Left back Tarensi played eight times for the EDS before a move to Girona II for the second half of the season. There, he played five times in the Tercera Division including in three victories.

WATCH | City seal U18 Premier League national title

It's the midfielders up next...

Claudio Gomes

Club: Barnsley

League appearances: 31

French defensive midfielder Gomes spent the season with Championship club Barnsley. His side were relegated from the Championship, but the 21-year-old did gain vital experience in a highly competitive and demanding league.

GO GO GOMES : Claudio in action for Barnsley
GO GO GOMES : Claudio in action for Barnsley

Iker Pozo

Club: HNK Rijeka

Appearances: N/A

After three appearances for the EDS, Pozo moved on loan to Croatian team HNK Rijeka. Unfortunately, injury ended his time there before he could play a match. He is now back at the CFA and working on his recovery.

WATCH | Wilkinson delighted with Under-18s title win

Tommy Doyle

Club: Hamburg, Cardiff City

League appearances: 25

Last season’s Premier League 2 winning captain got his first sustained taste of senior football in the II Bundesliga and Championship, with two major clubs.

The 20-year-old played six times for Hamburg before a January move to Cardiff – where he played 19 Championship fixtures. Cardiff finished 18th, with our man providing two goals and three assists in his time there.

He is now involved in England U21s’ European Championship qualifiers.

CITY V CITY : Tommy Doyle unleashes a strike as Taylor Harwood-Bellis attempts a block
CITY V CITY : Tommy Doyle unleashes a strike as Taylor Harwood-Bellis attempts a block

Alex Robertson

Club: Ross County

League appearances: Three

Scottish-born midfielder Robertson played three times for Scottish Premiership side Ross County in November and December, including in a victory over Hibernian. He played a further two matches in the League Cup, with his only start coming in a win over Montrose.

Upon his return, the 19-year-old played three times for the Premier League 2 winning EDS.

READ | Wilcox and Guardiola salute Under-18 Champions

Ben Knight

Club: Crewe Alexandra

League appearances: Six

After his cameo in last year’s Community Shield, attacking midfielder Knight played six times for League One Crewe.

He was a regular starter early in the season before injury stopped him in his tracks – and meant he didn’t play again after 7 December. He is now working back to fitness at the CFA.

Lewis Fiorini

Club: Lincoln City

League appearances: 39

20-year-old Fiorini was a key creative spark for Lincoln City in their successful bid to avoid the drop from League One.

His 39 games from a possible 46 included six goals and six assists from central midfield, with the added prize of the Young Player of the Year award at the end of the season.

The Scotland Under-21 international has also played a key part in his nation’s European Championship qualifiers for next summer.

Finally, we come on the attackers...

Morgan Rogers

Club: AFC Bournemouth

League appearances: 15

19-year-old winger Rogers was predominantly used as a substitute for a Bournemouth side that sealed promotion from the Championship just a year after their Premier League relegation.

Of his 15 appearances, 14 came from the bench. Rogers can take several positives from working with an attacking side who have proved successful at the top end of the Championship.

Julian Alvarez

Club: River Plate

Since signing for City in January, Argentine forward Alvarez has stayed with River Plate.

At the time of writing, the 22-year-old has scored 14 goals in 19 matches during the 2022 season - which has started with the Copa Libertadores and Copa Diego Armando Maradona. Their league season begins in June.

His most eye-catching performance came just a few days ago when he hit six against Peruvian side Alianza Lima - becoming the first River Plate player ever to score that many in one game.