In January, West Ham United took the decision to loan Conor Coventry out to League One side Lincoln City.
On that, Academy Manager Ricky Martin said: “Conor has been outstanding this season as our U23s captain, and his ability to set standards on and off the pitch has been rightly rewarded with his new contract.
“On the back of that, we feel the next part of his personal development will be to face more senior football opportunities. With the position he plays in, he’ll be able to mix his game through them.”
There may have been some doubts about whether this was the correct decision though, with a place in the first-team squad seemingly up for grabs in the holding midfield position.
Carlos Sanchez has played just 113 minutes of Premier League football this season, indicating that he is there to be usurped by the 19-year-old to become the main backup option.
However, it can be suggested that Coventry’s early performances for the Imps indicate that half-a-season away from London Stadium to develop, and acclimatise to first-team football, could be very useful for him – as opposed to chucking him into David Moyes’ side.
So far, the Republic of Ireland youth international has made three starts and two substitute appearances under Michael Appleton, totalling 288 minutes.
Looking at his statistics up to this point, it can be suggested that his defensive game can use a little bit of development because he averages 0.4 tackles per game, but also makes 1.6 fouls and is dribbled past 0.4 times on average.
Aside from that, he manages 0.6 interceptions and 0.8 clearances.
There are still signs of his efficiency on the ball though as the teenager has maintained a pass success rate of 81.8% – highlighting how he can go on to dictate the team’s play once becoming fully established in the side.
Of course, this is not writing Coventry off, but it does show that time at a lower level is something that will be useful for him to learn from, as he gets up to speed with playing alongside and against senior figures.
The hope will be that he takes the lesson from this loan spell and uses it to propel himself into West Ham’s first-team plans moving forward.