Pompey’s Caolan Lavery reckons talented players are missing their chance

Caolan Lavery
Caolan Lavery
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Some players may think a move from the Premier League or the Championship down to the lower reaches of the Football League might be beneath them.

In the modern game, youngsters are capable of earning huge salaries at a tender age and some believe that can dilute their motivation and take away that competitive edge.

Some may enjoy the comforts of a state-of-the-art training ground’s facilities and will shy away from a short trip down the divisions when a call comes in for a possible loan deal.

Just ask Caolan Lavery – he has seen it happen at close quarters.

But the down-to-earth 22-year-old is clearly not cut from the same cloth, after previous stints at Southend United, Plymouth Argyle and Chesterfield.

Those clubs may not be able to match Sheffield Wednesday’s stature, but they have served him well in terms of his development.

And if he needed further evidence, there are plenty of examples of those talented young players, who were destined for much bigger things, learning the ropes on a short stint away from their parent club.

David Beckham did a month at Preston North End before making it at Manchester United, Jermain Defoe and Rio Ferdinand got a taste of first-team football at Bournemouth, and Frank Lampard did a spell in the old second division with Swansea before breaking through at West Ham.

Lavery, however, doesn’t need convincing about his move to Fratton Park.

He said: ‘I think it all depends on the person and their character.

‘I know of a few players through the years who haven’t wanted to go out on loan and didn’t fancy dropping down a level or two.

‘For me, personally, I love playing football and I want to do the best I can for the time I’m here. Then we’ll see what happens in January when the loan is up.

‘To me, it doesn’t matter what division I am in. It’s about playing first-team football.

‘It’s tough to say why some players might think that way and turn down a loan move. I’m not one of them.

‘I know it does happen, though, which is unfortunate because I think players should want to play all the time.

‘They might think “I won’t go down there to this level or that level” but then they get released at the end of the season, they have played two games and nobody wants to touch them.

‘It can be their downfall as they haven’t had that first-team experience.

‘I just think it’s vitally important to gain that experience wherever you can.’

Lavery has certainly had a flavour of first-team football at Hillsborough, although he has not yet established himself as a regular.

Having come through the academy ranks at Ipswich Town before his move to Sheffield Wednesday, Lavery believes his Pompey spell can only help his career in the future.

He said: ‘The Championship is such a tough league, you need to be right on it in every game.

‘Any extra experience to deal with that can only help.

‘You have to learn to deal with the crowd and learn to handle different situations.

‘So far, my loans have been very useful.’

Now in his fourth loan spell away from his parent club, the Canada-born forward is getting used to the experience.

He said: ‘My first loan was at Southend, I was carrying an injury and I probably shouldn’t have gone.

‘I only made three or four substitute appearances so I don’t really count that one too much!

‘I went to Plymouth and I did well. I think I ended up scoring three in six starts, which isn’t too bad as a striker.

‘I would be happy if I did that for my whole career.

‘That loan spell actually helped me break into the first team at Sheffield Wednesday, so that was a success.

‘Then at Chesterfield last season, the gaffer was kind enough to take me there after a pretty bad injury in pre-season.

‘I found my feet after a few games, I did quite well and ended up getting recalled.

‘I was thankful to the manager for giving me the opportunity.’