Top Five Leyton Orient Loanees From The Last Five Years – Opinion

With this season being Leyton Orient‘s fifth season back in the EFL, we take a look at five of their most influential loan players that have seen the club push on from a newly promoted National League side to a League One play-off outside contender.

The common phrase “never fall in love with a loan player” always has meaning to football fans, with players from traditionally higher clubs in the footballing pyramind dropping down to the EFL in search of first team experience. Let’s take a look at the Leyton Orient loanees who have recently impressed during their time at Brisbane Road, and whilst there have been many in the last five years, here are the five most memorable.

5. Tunji Akinola

Making 33 appearances for The O’s in the 2020/21 season, West Ham United loanee Tunji Akinola really impressed in his time in E10. Despite not registering a goal to his name, the youngster caught the eye for his tough tackling on composure on the ball in defence, and played at both centre-back and right-back during his time with the club.

He was one of the bright sparks of a forgettable behind-closed-doors season. Whilst most fans wanted him to join permanently he decided otherwise, joining Scottish side Partick Thistle before making a move to his current club, Woking.

4. Kieran Sadlier

Joining as a January signing on loan from Bolton Wanderers last season, Irish winger Kieran Sadlier is another player who really impressed in his short time in E10. Sadlier made 19 appearances for The O’s, predominantly down the left-hand side as they clinched promotion back to League One as champions.

With five assists in his time and an absolute pearler of a free kick at Sutton United to all but secure promotion, it is no wonder why there were similar shouts from Orient fans to keep him at the club going into the new season in the third tier. However, with the obligation to buy, the club decided otherwise, with Sadlier now enjoying himself at fellow third-tier side Wycombe Wanderers, who of course go to Wembley in just a few weeks for the EFL Trophy final.

3. Ed Turns

Similar to Sadlier, Ed Turns also joined Leyton Orient on loan in January last year from Premier League side Brighton and Hove Albion.

The central defender was a vital part of Richie Wellens’ side’s promotion, playing 16 matches over the final few months of the season, as the club faced a defensive injury crisis. The youngster also registered two vital goals for The O’s, including a stunning strike against Walsall followed by a neat finish at Crewe Alexandra.

Turns also spent the first half of this season with the side he won League Two with last year, but did not start as many matches as he wanted, and was recalled on deadline day by Brighton and sent on loan to Crewe, where he has really impressed so far.

2. Theo Archibald

The only player on this list whose loan move was made permanent. Theo Archibald joined The O’s ahead of the 2021/22 campaign under Kenny Jackett, and hit the ground running from day one.

He played 38 times across the season, scoring eight goals and producing nine assists in that time, mostly playing on the wing. A lot of Orient fans will argue that moving Theo to left wing-back was the catalyst of poor performances on the pitch that ended in his departure.

With Orient fans desperate to secure his signature following the end of the loan from Lincoln City, it was Richie Wellens who got the deal over the line to the delight of the supporters. He has now made over 100 appearances in an Orient shirt and was a key part of the title-winning side, but has unfortunately seen his current season come to an abrupt end following an injury sustained in early 2024.

1. Idris El Mizouni

When Tunisian midfielder Idris El Mizouni joined Orient at the start of last season on loan from Ipswich Town there were some fans who were disappointed with the loan deal, but boy were they silenced fast. His presence in midfield was the key to driving the team up the pitch as well as creating chances and stopping opposition attacks, and if he adds a few more goals to his game he will be very close to becoming a complete midfielder.

After comfortably making it into the League Two Team of the Year last season, Orient managed to retain his services again for this season in League One, fighting off interest from Charlton Athletic and Derby County. The third tier has not phased him at all either, with his performances being pivotal to their successful season.

The big talking point is where he will be playing next season, with Ipswich looking like they may be in the top flight, but Orient fans should enjoy his services while they can as he definitely has the ability to play at a higher level next season

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