They are players who can sometimes be forgotten by supporters, but loan exports are more important than ever at Norwich City.

This week, two young players on the periphery of their Championship squad in Jonathan Tomkinson and Tony Springett departed in pursuit of accelerating their personal development. 

It is easy, particularly in the case of Tomkinson, to take a short-term and somewhat selfish view that keeping him in the building would have been in the best interests of Norwich. 

Plenty of football clubs hold those views within football, some are known to hoard players and not present opportunities to youngsters hoping to develop their game just in case the worst happens at senior level. 

That cautious approach only benefits the club - the players then gets stuck in a tricky position where they are often prevented from playing regularly in a team's youth side and aren't quite ready to break fully into the first-team set-up. 

Tomkinson has found himself cast in that curious role this season - since the summer, he has played just six matches for Norwich at both senior and under-21 level. In a crucial year for his development, that will not aid his progress in the long term. 

The American has often been drafted in reserve to travel with the squad, only to miss out on a place on the bench. Despite feeling like a step closer to fulfilling a dream, it can often be a deeply damaging place for a young player to be caught in that halfway house. 

There will some who feel that Tomkinson's performance away at Burnley in October warranted a greater exposure to Championship football than was the case in reality but what is clear is his need to be playing football somewhere. 

Clubs can be guilty of using young players as short-term sticking plasters or as reserve options. From that perspective, Norwich deserve praise for being brave and putting the development of their young talent ahead of adding depth to their first-team squad.

Both Tomkinson and Springett have pushed through loans to EFL clubs in search of getting a regularity to their minutes on the pitch but also to put them in the best position to come back and have a crack at breaking into David Wagner's thoughts. 

Once Jacob Sorensen returned from injury, Norwich could sanction Tomkinson's departure. Springett's loan move was one that could be denied of him given the stature of Derby and the challenge at Pride Park. 

Both players are walking into clubs in the midst of promotion challenges - in Springett's case, Derby are currently 17 games unbeaten and forcing his way into that team will prove to be a challenge in itself. 

Tomkinson also faces a fight to break into Stevenage's defence given their momentum under Steve Evans in League Two - but, if either want to succeed at Norwich, they must rise to that particular challenge. 

Beyond the on-pitch conundrums, the exposure to a new climate after such a prolonged spell in Norfolk will serve as a valuable experience. 

In the case of first loans, it is never really about performances on the pitch but extracting from the situation and experience - be it positive or negative. 

Over the past few years, Norwich have spent time building up contacts and becoming trusted by coaches to recommend young talent that could thrive at their club in the right circumstances. 

Andy Hughes, despite his promotion to Wagner's first-team staff, will still oversee City's loan exports and monitor their progress. 

The Pink Un: Andrew Hughes oversees the loan programme at Norwich City.Andrew Hughes oversees the loan programme at Norwich City. (Image: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Limited)

Perhaps the biggest champion of Norwich's approach to loan departures at present is Sam McCallum, who has been forced to bide his time but has become a frontline option since the start of the season. 

The hope is that Bali Mumba, currently excelling on loan at Plymouth, could be the next one to benefit from that experience, both positive and negative, and return to Norwich and flourish. 

Others, such as Andrew Omobamidele and Max Aarons, are proof that every young player takes a different path to finding their way at senior level. Often, an exposure to that level of football at that age does create a higher level of consistency at an earlier period of a player's career. 

Of course, there is a flip side. Kieran Dowell, who starred in City's win at Preston, who has only made 157 career appearances at 25 and is still trying to shake off a tag of inconsistency that has lingered behind him throughout his career due to the lack of permanent home prior to joining Norwich. 

Or there is Adam Idah, who has struggled for minutes due to Teemu Pukki's form in recent years. Maybe that bravery to sanction a loan move was absent, but recruiting for a striker is often expensive and understudies are hard to find. 

There is a balance to strike - but Norwich have walked that tightrope well over the years, largely recognising when players need to head away to play football lower in the pyramid. 

Ben Godfrey, James Maddison, Josh and Jacob Murphy all played away from Norwich at various points - they were involved in some of the biggest money departures in the club's history. 

The Pink Un: James Maddison enjoyed a productive loan spell at Aberdeen whilst with Norwich City.James Maddison enjoyed a productive loan spell at Aberdeen whilst with Norwich City. (Image: PA Images)

The approach can never be a one-size fits all - but it proves that, despite a considerable amount of criticism for other aspects, Norwich are still really accomplished at forging pathways and creating careers for players if making the next step to the first-team is a possibility. 

Saxon Earley's move to Plymouth documents that latter point - for Norwich, owed to their financial model, it is a necessity to improve these players either for their first-team or to boost the club's coffers. 

Norwich's loan rangers are in good hands and on the right path - Tomkinson and Springett must now advance their claims from afar.