On Sunday, Tottenham loan player Nathan Oduwa exited Ibrox after cutting his Rangers career five months short.
The fact the player didn’t have great success in the Scottish second tier is not a particularly good omen for the rest of his career. However, it is by no means a certainty that he won’t make it at the highest level.
There have been a number of players who’ve gone on to star in England and other top leagues around the world following a stint in the SPFL. Some of whom made even less of an impression than the young winger.
Here are a selection of them:
Robert Earnshaw (loaned to Greenock Morton from Cardiff City, 2000)
The striker may not have had as good a career as some on this list, but he still scored 11 goals in a single EPL season once, bagged 54 caps for his country and once knocked a hat-trick past a thoroughly useless Scotland side managed by Bertie Vogts. And it’s always fun reminding people he played four times for Morton.
Simone Del Nero (loaned to Livingston from Brescia, 2001-02)
Livi made some incredible signings at their peak, didn’t they?
Del Nero hardly even played during his time in West Lothian and made a early return to Italy.
Later on his career he woul sign a five-year deal with Lazio.
Ricardo Fuller (loaned to Hearts from Tivoli Gardens, 2001-02)
Chief executive Chris Robinson decided not to fork over the £500k fee required to sign the striker after the Jamaican enjoyed an immense single season in Gorgie.
The Hearts chief must have thought he’d been redeemed when the player suffered a serious injury after signing for Preston the following season. However, Fuller came back stronger and better and was a regular in Tony Pulis’ Stoke side when they first made it up to the EPL.
Oh well, it wasn’t like Robinson to make wrong decisions.
Craig Bellamy (loaned to Celtic from Newcastle United, 2005)
This one’s a bit of a cheat since Bellamy was already a well known name prior to his Celtic move. However, he came from Newcastle and later went on to play for Liverpool (twice) and Manchester City (post money), so it’s fair to say he enjoyed an ascension after departing Glasgow.
Mauricio Pinilla (loaned to Hearts from Inter, 2006-08)
Another cheat inclusion because Pinilla played for Inter and Sporting Lisbon, where he scored a terrific goal in a UEFA Cup semi, and was a star on the Chilean national team before he arrived in Gorgie, so it’d be a little disingenuous to say his career got better.
However, his time in Edinburgh preceded the lowest point in his personal and professional life - 24 months working for Vladmir Romanov will do that to you – and he’s since recovered to star for a number of sides in Serie A over recent seasons.
Kasper Schmeichel (loaned to Falkirk from Manchester City, 2007)
It took Son of Peter some time to emerge into the stopper he is now. After his stint at the Falkirk Stadium (already his third loan spell) he bounced from Cardiff to Coventry before finally being released by Manchester City.
He started up again in League Two with Notts County before finding himself at Leicester after a season with Leeds. He’s no’ quite his da’, but he’s a decent player by anyone’s standards.
Krisztian Vadocz (loaned to Motherwell from Auxerre, 2007)
The Hungarian is (probably) the only former Motherwell player to score in the Bernabeu. The midfielder was a skilful ray of light in a miserable time for the Lanarkshire side. He also claimed to have fallen in love with the town and wanted to stay. ‘Well couldn’t get the deal done and off he went, later pitching up at Osasuna in La Liga.
Lewis Grabban (loaned to Motherwell from Crystal Palace, 2007-08)
There are two themes to this article:
1) 2007/08 was a great year for loan talent in Scottish football.
And 2) if you want to have a strong career, go on loan to Motherwell.
Grabban was the youngster who stepped in for the Steelmen when Jamie Murphy was injured. He’s recently been sold for £7 million to Bournemouth from Norwich.
Tim Krul (loaned to Falkirk from Newcastle United, 2007-08)
The goalkeeper – who thanks to Louis van Gaal will forever be known as a penalty specialist – played under John Hughes during his time at the Falkirk Stadium. Hughes wanted to keep the goalkeeper, but Newcastle hadn’t just sent the Dutchman on loan to get him out of the way, and rightly welcomed him back at the end of the loan. He’s since played nearly 200 times for the Magpies.
Sone Aluko (loaned to Aberdeen from Birmingham City, 2007-08)
Scored against Bayern Munich and was generally excellent during his loan spell, which prompted Aberdeen to sign him at the end of the season.
He then contributed very little for three years before being allowed to join Rangers, where he suddenly became one of the most dangerous attacking players in the league, and has since played in the EPL and an FA Cup final. Aberdeen supporters have the right to feel a bit miffed by the player’s sudden ascent.
Kyle Naughton (loaned to Gretna from Sheffield United, 2008)
Remember this happened? Because this writer sure didn’t. Gretna, in their only top flight season also came very close to signing former Arsenal and current Sunderland ‘keeper Vito Mannone. Apparently he took one look at his prospective new team-mates and decided he was better off remaining in Arsenal’s reserves. Good call.
Jay Rodriguez (loaned to Stirling Albion from Burnley, 2008)
A full England international who was sold from Burnley to Southampton for £7 million spent half a season with Stirling Albion. I’m just going to let that fact hang in the air for a minute...
The strangest aspect was that Rodriguez didn’t even look that much of a player during his time at Forthbank. Robert Snodgrass on the other hand...
John Ruddy (loaned to Motherwell from Everton, 2009-10)
It’s a testament to how good the goalkeeper was at Fir Park that I was certain he played more than one season. Alas, he used just a single campaign to build up quite a legacy before signing for Norwich. Barring injury, he’s been a regular for the Canaries since and has even played for England.
Lukas Jutkiewicz (loaned to Motherwell from Everton, 2009-10)
The striker was but a young boy when he lashed in a thunderous last minute volley to complete the most improbable of Scottish football comebacks when Motherwell drew 6-6 with Hibernian.
His career since leaving Fir Park has been a bit more modest, playing his best stuff with Coventry and Middlesbrough in the lower leagues, though he did make it to the big time with Burnley last season. We’ll gloss over the fact he scored precisely zero goals in 25 games.
Edson Braafheid (loaned to Celtic from Bayern Munich, 2010)
Do some players go on loan and just have a jolly? That’s the only explanation for the Dutchman’s form in Glasgow. Braafheid was very poor with Celtic, and yet has 10 caps for his country, played with both Bayern Munich and Lazio, and featured in a World Cup final.
Fraser Forster (loaned to Celtic from Newcastle United, 2010-12)
The second time Newcastle loaned out a young goalkeeper to the Scottish Premiership, only this time they failed to recognise talent, giving him to Celtic for a second loan spell before allowing the Parkhead club to buy him for £2 million. Two years later Celtic sold him for five times that amount. Oh, Newcastle...
Paul Dummett (loaned to St Mirren from Newcastle United, 2012-13)
Three years from winning a League Cup winners medal with St Mirren, Dummett netted the equaliser in a pulsating 3-3 draw with Manchester United.
He’s played 64 times for the north east club since returning from his year in Paisley.
Duncan Watmore (loaned to Hibernian from Sunderland, 2014)
If you’d told a Hibs fan at the conclusion of the 2013-14 season that Duncan Watmore would be a regular in an EPL side within two years they would have laughed at you, and then immediately gone straight back to crying because their team has just been relegated, which Watmore played a part in by being fairly ineffective in a six month loan spell.
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