COLUMN: Enjoy loan star while you still can
Enjoy watching Louis Reed in blue while you can, because with every Man of the Match display he increases his chances of playing at a higher level next season.
The miniature midfield maestro has been magnificent for Chesterfield since arriving halfway through the club’s pre-season tour in Portugal.
An enterprising taxi driver tried his best to cajole a few extra Euros out of the bemused youngster when they arrived at Complexe Sportif de Vila Real de Santo António from the airport that evening.
There aren’t many who can say they’ve got much change out of Reed ever since.
He’s been the man to make Town tick, dominating the passing statistics thanks to that deep lying position he takes up to receive the ball and start the moves.
Some of those passes have been vital moments in the campaign and directly responsible for the position – outside the drop zone – they find themselves in.
His vision and ability on the ball put Kristian Dennis in for a huge goal in the draw at Swindon and the same happened on Saturday atYeovil for the game winner.
He got a goal against the Glovers too, and what a special strike it was.
The only other time he hit the net was in the 1-1 draw at Colchester and it, too, was a fine finish.
Gary Caldwell, who signed the 20-year-old, called him one of the club’s biggest leaders because of his aggression and his standards.
Jack Lester has waxed lyrical on numerous occasions about the on-loan Sheffield United man, citing an excellent attitude in training and his quality in matches.
It’s Reed’s work ethic that puts him so high up in the charts for defensive duels, because he gets up and down the pitch so well.
He’s often in the right place to nip in and break up attacks or give away necessary fouls in good areas.
As the video of Saturday’s winner shows, he’s clever too, giving Otis Khan just enough of a tug back, on the referee’s blindside, to take Yeovil’s best player out of the game completely before assisting Dennis’ winner.
And there’s a resilience and a toughness to him.
How many times this season has he taken a kick and kept on going?
Reed has played in 33 of Town’s 35 games and it’s that regular starting place that is allowing him to reignite a career that had burned so brightly early on, before fading a little at Bramall Lane.
He was just 16 when he made his senior debut for the Blades and became their youngest ever player in league action.
His potential earned him a three-year professional contract in the summer of 2014 and he played 32 times for United the following season.
Another three-year contract was to follow in July 2015, but after adding 25 more first team appearances, his career stalled.
The 2016/17 season, one that was so successful for Chris Wilder’s men, featured just one appearance for Reed – and that was in the EFL Trophy.
It’s little wonder he jumped at the chance to get out, get regular minutes and prove he’s still a real player, with the Spireites.
Another prodigious youngster, David Brooks, has been making headlines down the road for the Blades, but there’s no doubt they’ll be delighted with what they’ve seen from Reed.
As much as Chesterfield have benefitted from the deal, so has Reed and so might United in the not-so-distant future.
All parties will surely look back on the loan spell fondly.
The only thing that might stick in the throat a little for Lester and co is that, having polished Reed up, they’ve got to send him back.
Whilst he is out of contract this summer and Chesterfield would love few things more than to make him a permanent Spireite, Sheffield United have an option for a further year.
Even if Wilder has no plans to stick him back in the Blades midfield next season, there’s money to be made, or at the very least the possibility of another loan, this time in League One, because there will be takers.
Before he rides off into the bright sunset of his future, Reed has a job to finish at the Proact.
Should he help Town stay up and continue to contribute so impressively, he’ll cement his status as the club’s best bit of 2017 business and a firm Spireites fan favourite.