Ben Woodburn played for Liverpool U23s on Sunday … but his Sheffield United spell is not coming to an early end

Ben Woodburn in his last appearance for Sheffield United last month
Ben Woodburn in his last appearance for Sheffield United last month

On loan Sheffield United forward Ben Woodburn made a surprising return to Liverpool on Sunday, turning out for their under 23s.

The Wales international played a little over an hour of the young Reds’ 3-2 defeat to Derby County at the Kirkby Academy.

Woodburn arrived at Bramall Lane in the summer with a fair amount of fanfare, having shown himself to be one of Liverpool’s brightest young talents.

However, the 19 year-old has found the change difficult and has made just seven appearances for the Blades, most of those coming from the bench.

With United challenging at the top of the Championship and experienced players like Billy Sharp and David McGoldrick impressing in front of goal, Woodburn is having to bide his time.

His last match came more than a month ago, as a 77th minute substitute against Birmingham City and so, in a big to gain some match sharpness, Woodburn returned to Liverpool.

However, the club’s youngest ever goalscorer will not be hanging around on Merseyside, with under 23s coach Neil Critchley stating Woodburn is heading back to Sheffield.

And despite struggling to make an impact in his spell at United so far, Woodburn is being back to prove his worth at some stage in the campaign.

“Ben showed some lovely moments,” Critchley said in Liverpool Echo.

“It was nice to see him back with us for training on Saturday and the plan was always to play him for an hour. He will go back to Sheffield now and hopefully this game will benefit him.

“He's on that development pathway that we speak about all the time to the players. It's not always going to be an upward curve. It will be a rollercoaster.

“He's in a different environment playing senior football for the first time. He has to fight his way back into that Sheffield team who are doing very well at the moment.

“I'm sure by the end of the season with the attitude and mentality Ben's got, he will have proved himself to Sheffield.”