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Maybe Cameron Borthwick-Jackson just isn’t that good

Leeds United loanee from Manchester United has again struggled while out on loan

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Burnley v Leeds United - Carabao Cup Third Round Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Cameron Borthwick-Jackson is having a miserable loan spell, again. After being recalled from his loan at Wolverhampton last year in January, cut short so he could spend more time in the Premier League 2 with the Manchester United U23s, Borthwick-Jackson was a sought after loanee, with many clubs apparently interested in taking the young defender on loan. However, just like las season, he has spent much of the season on the bench.

The Telegraph said of his loan spell, “Mourinho is an admirer of the player but was keen for him to get regular playing time away from Old Trafford this season, with a view to coming back into the first-team fold in the summer[.]” Sounds reasonable, right? That quote is from last January, referring to the defender’s loan at Wolverhampton, not the current one at Leeds.

Maybe the issues isn’t with the clubs or the squad depth, but with the player. While Borthwick-Jackson got a few appearances in the senior squad at Manchester United under Louis Van Gaal, he has been sent out on loan the past two seasons to the Championship, and both times he has been buried on the depth chart.

Borthwick-Jackson has made only one league start for Leeds this season, the match against Preston. And while he was solid at times, the only time he really showed his attacking potential was after Preston had gone down a man and Leeds was playing with the numerical advantage.

Borthwick-Jackson played in both the League Cup matches against Newport County and against Port Vale. He looked good against Port Vale, but seemed average against Newport County. Both of those clubs are League Two clubs, and Port Vale has already sacked their manager, ex-Leeds player Michael Brown, after a disastrous beginning of the season. He also played in Leeds United’s last League Cup match against Burnley where he was easily the worst Leeds player on the pitch.

Not only has Borthwick-Jackson failed to impress this season, he has every opportunity to grab a starting place right now. Currently he is the only left-back on the roster, with the two players who have filled in at the position, Gaetano Berardi and Vurnon Anita, both right-footed players who are more comfortable at right back, or in Anita’s case, midfield. There is no reason that a player with the hype and pedigree of Borthwick-Jackson shouldn’t be making the starting XI week-in, week-out. Unless, of course, he’s just not that good.

Borthwick-Jackson has had two poor loan spells at two different Championship clubs. Neither team has seen very much in his abilities, and he’s looked poor going up against decent competition. While he’s got the Manchester United pedigree, he’s not lived up to the hype. If his loan spell is cancelled again, or he continues to ride the bench, then no longer is it just a case of the player just not fitting into the system or meshing with the team. Simply put, he just isn’t that good right now.