As January transfer window finally shuts, players can focus on the football - Sue Smith

Chris Wilder with Jack Rodwell.
Chris Wilder with Jack Rodwell.
0
Have your say

There will have been some relieved footballers when the transfer window shut last night.

Clubs being able to buy, sell and loan players in January can cause all sorts of disruption, and it is important footballers take the right advice.

I never moved in mid-season, but I know what the uncertainty can be like. The issues are the same in the women’s game, it is just the latter on a far bigger scale for the men.

When I was at Tranmere Rovers, I made my England debut as a 17-year-old. It was my first real club, the club I grew up with, a nice club and one I wanted to be at. But people were telling me I should move to a bigger club, like Leeds United, Arsenal or Fulham.

I was still living at home, and did not want to move to Leeds or London at that stage but I had conversations with the Leeds and Arsenal managers.

The money in the women’s game was nothing like the men’s but still it would have meant a big pay rise.

I talked to my parents and they told me to stay where I was happy until the end of the season.

When I eventually joined Leeds it was one of the best decisions I made but I was pleased I did it at the right time.

Playing was always a big release for me, whatever else was going on in my life. At times, though, you can see a player’s work-rate go down when they think they might be moving on – it was levelled against Christian Eriksen this season – and you would not be human if you did not worry about an injury when you went in for a tackle.

You wonder at times if agents are pushing players to move because it is in their best interests.

Moving to a big club at the wrong time and sitting on the bench can end your career. We saw the damage joining Manchester City did to Jack Rodwell.

Perhaps not playing often enough did not help him physically, and he has suffered a lot of injuries since. He is now trying to get his career going again at Sheffield United.

The transfer window is important because managers need that option to freshen up their squads, particularly on the back of the Christmas period.

It is often only in the last two or three days that the window really gets going but a lot of groundwork goes into those deals, and shortening it would cause more problems than it solves.

Players need the opportunity to move too. They might not be playing, or they might think they deserve to move to a bigger club.

But a lot of disruption comes with it, and many players have families to consider. Some will have to get used to a new country and a new league, and even moving within the same division there are things to adapt to.

There is the uncertainty of whether you are going to be able to adapt to new tactics and team-mates, and those staying will be wondering if someone is going to take their position.

Jarrod Bowen was linked with big-money moves to the Premier League all month, and you must wonder at times what your team-mates think of you, particularly if the transfer falls through.

If you move in the summer, you will usually have a pre-season to get used to how the players around you play, but in January you need to hit the ground running, and not many can.

You should not really judge a player until after eight or nine games, but Mbwana Samatta was brought in by Aston Villa as a clinical goalscorer and you worry that the chance he missed one-on-one with the goalkeeper on his debut, the League Cup semi-final second leg against Leicester City, will set the tone for him.

At least now the window is shut, everyone knows where they stand for the rest of the season.