Alan Biggs: The 'unstoppable' driving force of Sander Berge at Sheffield United

Rhian Brewster’s predecessor as Sheffield United’s costliest player could tell him how difficult it can be to hit the ground running.

Wednesday, 7th October 2020, 1:00 pm

But that is exactly what Sander Berge has started to do - literally.

And the greatest player ever to wear a Blades shirt has urged Berge - and other United players - to do more of the same.

As a pretty decent ball-carrier himself, Tony Currie reckons Berge hitting the ground running makes him a near unstoppable force.

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Sheffield United's Norwegian midfielder Sander Berge runs with the ball during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Sheffield United at the Emirates Stadium in London on October 4, 2020. (Photo by Clive Rose / POOL / AFP)
Sheffield United's Norwegian midfielder Sander Berge runs with the ball during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Sheffield United at the Emirates Stadium in London on October 4, 2020. (Photo by Clive Rose / POOL / AFP)

And despite Brewster’s much trumpeted arrival - rightly so - Currie insists: “Sander can be THE player for us this season.”

Here’s why: “He’s massive, isn’t he? You can see the turn of speed when he goes past people. And you can tell he’s got a lot to offer. He’s only a kid too. Doesn’t look 18, never mind 22.”

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It’s that combination of physicality, athleticism and finesse which club ambassador Currie believes can inject added drive to a team already noted for that quality.

TC hopes to see increasing amounts of it, having loved the forward running of Jack O’Connell (sadly sidelined), Chris Basham, George Baldock and Enda Stevens, plus the surges of John Fleck.

O’Connell’s absence, prompting an urgent loan search for cover, is a severe strategic blow. Overlapping centre backs can only be be done in stereo, not so powerful in mono.

The need for a touch more unpredictability also explains why Chris Wilder would be alive to any opportunity to re-sign David Brooks, the £11m export to Bournemouth now finding himself back down in the Championship.

Despite never being short of an opinion (always welcomed and embraced by the manager), Currie says he “can’t criticise Chris for anything” and calls the job he’s done “phenomenal.”

He believes playing to their strengths can see the Blades recover from their poor start (in points rather than performances) and that £22m Norway international Berge, playing centrally now, can lead the way.

“If he plays like in that second half against Leeds he’ll be fabulous for the club,” Tony told me on my Sheffield Live show.

“If your midfield players can turn and they’ve got that 20 or 30 yards to run into then get running into it with the ball!

“It doesn’t necessarily happen all the time because they’re marked so tight and I understand how tough that is.

“But if Sander’s got the space - or any of them - just run into it...it’s a shock to the system to the defensive team. I’d like to see us do a lot more of that.

“Especially Sander.”

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