Sheffield United: Kean Bryan is keen to get going at Bramall Lane after disrupted start following move from Manchester CityÂ

Kean Bryan, the Sheffield United defender, has opened up for the first time about his "frustrating" start to life at Bramall Lane after his summer move from Manchester City.

Monday, 24th December 2018, 12:59 pm
Updated Tuesday, 8th January 2019, 4:08 pm
Kean Bryan of Sheffield Utd: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

The Manchester-born 22-year-old, who was with City from the age of 11 and went on to captain the club's development squad, arrived at United in August on a three-year deal despite emerging as a target for Scottish giants Rangers.

But a sequence of injuries and illness have delayed the youngster's first-team debut for Chris Wilder's side, with his only football in a red-and-white shirt to date coming for the U23s.

His latest outing for United's Professional Development League (PDL) side came last week, playing just over an hour in a defeat to Burnley at Stocksbridge Park Steels' Bracken Moor ground.

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And the defender admitted: "It was fantastic to get over an hour for the U23s against Burnley.

"It's been a case for a couple of weeks now of just getting some minutes, before stepping things up further.

'It's been so frustrating personally, it hasn't been the best of start, in fact it's been really tough having signed permanently having left Manchester City.

'It's still pretty slow progress, but it's just a case of racking up the minutes for the U23s and with that will come the match fitness and sharpness, I can't afford any further setbacks.

'I've had a lot of little niggling injuries and a bout of illness too, but now I want to look forward rather than back."

Bryan's appearances during the early part of the current Championship campaign were limited while he got up to speed with the rest of the United squad, before a muscle injury and illness knocked him back further.

A PDL game against Hull City at Stocksbridge in October was scheduled to be the final hurdle before he was considered for the first-team squad, until he was withdrawn at half-time after feeling some discomfort in his leg.

Further scans revealed that Bryan had some scar tissue on one of his hamstrings.

"Obviously people know I haven't played for quite a while now, so it's good to be out there getting a feel for it again," he admitted, speaking ahead of this afternoon's clash with Derby County at Bramall Lane.

"I just want to progress smoothly and make sure I'm right when I start pushing for a spot in the matchday 18.

'The lads have been great with me, they know how frustrated I've been, but off the field it couldn't have gone any better and I'm grateful for the support they've given me.'

Saturday's 1-1 draw at bottom club Ipswich Town, in a match United once again dominated, saw them enter the Christmas period sixth in the table but nine points off the automatic promotion places.

'It's a cliché, but it is a great group of lads here and that togetherness has to be a factor in way they've done so well for the last three years now," Bryan added.

'We're in a good position in the table, despite dropping a few points recently. This is a competitive division though and we're right in amongst it at the top end.

'Christmas is always a vital time with the games coming up so quickly in such a short space of time, a positive return in the coming days will set us up nicely for 2019.'

Bryan, a close friend of former United star David Brooks from their days together in City's academy, impressed on loan at Oldham last season and won the club's young player of the year award.

He has been capped by England at U16, U17, U19 and U20 level and City inserted a sell-on clause into the deal with saw him arrive at Bramall Lane in the summer.

"I spoke to David when everything was agreed and he told me I'll love it here," Bryan said.

"He only had good things, really good things, to say about the place and it was a nice thing for him to do. It's only made me even more determined to do well."