View: Olivia McLoughlin's loan move to Birmingham City Women highlights common trend at Aston Villa Women
Aston Villa confirmed a deadline day transfer had been brokered for Birmingham City to take Olivia McLoughlin on loan – a move that once again highlights the depth that Carla Ward possesses.
The England Under-19 international is the third player to leave Villa this month after both Isobel Goodwin and Mary McAteer moved to Coventry United as the club looks to balance the books following some significant incomings.
McLoughlin is primarily a central midfielder, so the arrivals of Jordan Nobbs and Lucy Staniforth last month would have come as a sucker punch to her chances of regular game time at the West Midlands club.
The loan move will bring back familiar memories for the 18-year-old, as she started her career at Birmingham City before moving to Villa in October 2020.
Despite her young age, McLoughlin has made 36 appearances in the Women’s Super League, including 13 this term, and is by far the club’s biggest outgoing of this January window.
The Villa academy graduate has bridged the gap between the youth side and the first team with relative ease recently, and this is by no means the end of her journey at Villa.
The fact of the matter is, though, that the club’s ambitions to become a WSL top-four team has come at the wrong time in McLoughlin’s career. At a time when she needs nurturing and constant exposure in a professional environment, the youngster has unfortunately been resigned to large spells on the bench.
And although players like McLoughlin, Goodwin and McAteer would learn some great lessons from the likes of Rachel Daly and Nobbs, the best formula for success is to get on the pitch and start playing.
The move from the Villa hierarchy to loan out their most promising talent this January is a shrewd move, and they will likely reap the rewards for this move in the future.
McLoughlin, meanwhile, will hope that a strong showing at Villa’s noisy neighbours can help her force her way into Ward’s first-team plans in the 2023/24 plans.
In other Aston Villa news, Carla Ward must find a contingency plan in case Rachel Daly gets injured for her side this season.