Unfortunately for Jack Hunt, the player he nutmegged during last month’s victory over Sheffield Wednesday, footage of him flailing and trailing in the Sheffield United youngster’s wake threatens to become intrinsically linked with his own career too.
But when he takes a moment to consider on his progress in recent weeks, or leafs through the new contract he signed yesterday, Brooks should use the defender’s discomfort as a reminder that, in football, reputations can quickly change.
“His new target now is to go and earn that next contract now,” Chris Wilder, the United manager, said. “To do that he has to keep improving, learning, and driving his game forward. He has certainly done that this year, and we are looking forward to him being part of an exciting future here.”
Wilder has stated on numerous occasions that he became aware of Brooks’ potential within days of being appointed last summer. But it was his performance at Hillsborough, the 50-year-old admitted, which truly convinced him United have a very special player on their hands.
“Brooks’s attitude has been superb,” Wilder said.”Look at the derby game, a player’s temperament is a big thing when you play in the Championship. I thought he showed signs of it when he came on at Middlesbrough, he wasn’t phased. “He came on against Cardiff and changed the game. But to do what he did there, in that environment, spoke volumes about his character and approach.”