Youngster’s development loan

Part two of a feature about academy youngster Kian Tansley’s development loan with Maiden City Soccer Academy…

Paul Kee, who played for Nottingham Forest under Brian Clough, is the coach overseeing Tansley’s development loan in Northern Ireland and he has been impressed with the player so far.

“Kian has only been with us for a week, but he’s hit the ground running,” Kee said.

“We knew about him; we’d watched him a few times playing for Chesterfield U21s, and the coaches speak well about him.

“We decided that through this partnership, we’d try this experiment. Having played for Chesterfield for the majority of his life, this is a very different aspect of his development.

“He can gain an idea of the culture in Ireland, while improving his social development and experiencing different types of communication.

“He has settled in well, despite us throwing him in the deep end on Saturday. With a number of injuries, suspensions and Covid cases, Kian played about 75 minutes, assisting the first goal.

“His free-kick was deflected onto the crossbar and allowed our defender to head home with ease. It was an immediate contribution and he’s getting involved in everyday life in Maiden City already.”

The development loans are very new to both clubs, but Kee has high hopes for the programme and hopes it will aid Tansley’s progress.

Maiden City Soccer Academy have been involved in the development of a number of big names in the past, seeing the likes of Darron Gibson, Shane Ferguson and Eunan O’Kane walk through their doors.

“Hopefully, this development loan is something of value to him and he learns something, even if that’s from a social point of view that helps his understanding of what being a football player is,” Kee said.

“You need to love the game, not just play it. It’s a lifestyle, there’s the life off the pitch, how you prepare yourself, and then the football itself.

“There’s a good support system around him to help with the strength development. Football is so physical now; you have to have some sort of strength.

“He’s well-regarded at Chesterfield for his technical ability but they’re also aware of a gap in physicality – that’s what we want to help with.”

Kee spoke about the Maiden City players who have made their way over to Chesterfield as part of the development loans, saying: “There is a more dedicated approach to the football they have to give, in terms of game time and in the gym. 

“The three players currently over there [at Chesterfield] are all having slightly different experiences.

“Most importantly, they’ve learnt what the game is about at this level, which is good for them. It’s a good experience; it’s different, culturally.

“There’s no such thing as a bad experience, only an ‘experience’. Whatever happens, they have to learn from it.

“Once our relationship with Chesterfield is at a good level, it’s a perfect match for our players. We can already see that both sets of players are benefitting.

“We see similarities in what Chesterfield are trying to achieve – that’s why we identified a good working relationship with the club.

“We’ve got a couple of our coaches going over to England for a few days, just to gain an experience. We’ll see what happens and go from there.

“They get to see what a professional club is like, with Chesterfield a ‘sleeping big club’, if you will. Not quite a sleeping giant but they are known for their support. It’s beneficial for our staff and players because it’s something to aspire to.”