Doncaster Rovers' Richie Wellens on the loan waiting game facing EFL clubs

The European Championship is having an effect on League One Doncaster Rovers' summer recruitment, according to new manager Richie Wellens.

It is not that Wellens is targeting players who are still in action at the tournament, but they are looking to loan players from Premier League clubs who have players there.

The competition has reached its knockout stage, with the final on July 11.

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Premier League clubs like to assess their best young players in pre-season to see if any have kicked on unexpectedly before deciding whether to send them on loan. The top stars whose teams go deep in Euro 2020 will be given extra time off it, meaning others will be needed to make up the numbers in the initial warm-up games for 2021-22.

TARGETS: Doncaster Rovers manager Richie Wellens
TARGETS: Doncaster Rovers manager Richie Wellens

“A lot of these young players at Premier League clubs are really highly thought of and the main players are all at the Euros,” explained Wellens.

“When the Premier League clubs come back, a lot of these lads will be given game time in the first couple of weeks because all the top players at the Euros will be given a couple of extra weeks off.

“That is why nothing will move quickly in the loan market.

“The Premier League clubs will want to get it signed and dated but ask that for the first few weeks of pre-season the players join in with their first team.

“We’re happy with that. We’ll have our core group and if we drop a few loan players in, I’m happy with that.”

Rovers were criticised in some quarters for being over-reliant on loanees last season. They borrowed Ellery Balcombe, Josef Bursik, Tyreece John-Jules, Joe Lumley, Matt Smith, Taylor Richards, Scott Robertson, Elliot Simoes, Josh Sims and Rayhaan Tulloch.

It gave them access to high-quality players who put them in contention for automatic promotion in the first half of the season but they fell away badly when their stamina and experience was found wanting.

Financial reality, though, means Rovers cannot ignore the market, and goalkeeper is one of the positions they are looking to fill with a loanee. They have debts of more than £1m.

"Richie clearly will bring in loans but he describes them as the cherry on the cake," explained chief executive Gavin Baldwin last month. "We want a core staff that are contracted who can play 40 games a season each and the loans can provide those special moments, players we couldn't otherwise attract because they are at a Premier League club, a Championship club, but the core staff have got to be good enough and that will probably be the significant difference from last season."

Wellens's comments highlight how well some clubs have done to push through loan moves already. Hull City and Huddersfield Town, for example, have signed Nathan Baxter and Levi Colwill respectively on season-long loans from Chelsea, who still have Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen, Kurt Zouma, Ben Chilwell, Reece James, Cesar Azpilicueta, Emerson, Jorginho, N'Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic, Mason Mount, Kai Havertz, Michy Batshuayi, Timo Werner and Olivier Giroud involved in the tournament.

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