On Loan

Chelsea Here, Chelsea There: Happy homecoming for Maatsen and Coventry, Castillo makes winning start with Birmingham

In our round-up of the action involving Chelsea players on loan, three Blues kicked off their Football League campaigns in England…

One of the big stories from the start of the 2021/22 Championship season was the return home of Coventry City, who had Ian Maatsen in their starting line-up as they played at their own stadium for the first time since April 2019.

After two years in exile, ground sharing with Birmingham City, Maatsen and his team-mates got a big ovation from the fans as they walked out at the newly renamed Coventry Building Society Arena, the Dutch left-back playing the first 70 minutes of a 2-1 win on his debut for the Sky Blues.

It was certainly a memorable homecoming for the club, as after trailing Nottingham Forest for much of the game, they equalised in the 81st minute before scoring a dramatic winner six minutes into added time.

There was also a debut win in the Championship for another Dutch Chelsea loanee, Juan Castillo. On his first senior appearance in English football, Castillo came off the bench to sure up Birmingham City’s defence as they tried to withstand a barrage from recently relegated Sheffield United, but helped them hold on to a 1-0 lead and start the season with a victory.

In League One, goalkeeper Jamie Cumming impressed for Gillingham in their 1-1 draw with Lincoln City. Cumming was unlucky to concede an early goal, having produced an excellent save only to see the rebound lashed into the roof of the net four minutes in.

Gillingham equalised just before half-time, and the young keeper denied Lincoln on three occasions as his side earned a point on the opening day of the season.

Elsewhere in England, Nathan Baxter was on the bench for Hull City as they made a flying start to their campaign, winning 4-1 at Preston North End. Henry Lawrence was also among the substitutes with Wimbledon, as his former Chelsea Academy team-mate Luke McCormick’s free-kick gave them a 2-1 win at Doncaster Rovers.

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