Aged 17, the centre-forward was introduced midway through the second-half of yesterday’s defeat by Crystal Palace, underlining the wisdom of Paul Heckingbottom’s decision to name him in the squad by producing a combative display which nearly delivered a goal before Eberechi Eze sealed the visitors’ victory late on.
Heckingbottom, who coached Bramall Lane’s under-23’s team before taking charge on a caretaker basis following Chris Wilder’s departure in March, confirmed Jebbison could now be set for further opportunities during the final three games of the campaign as United, whose relegation was confirmed last month, attempt to stage-manage an orderly exit from the Premier League.
“I don’t see why not,” Heckingbottom replied, when asked if Jebbison would be featuring again. “The biggest thing is that you notice him when he’s on the pitch. His size, his athleticism and his work ethic makes you do that.”
Born in Oakville, Canada, Jebbison enrolled on United’s youth programme two years ago when his English born mother secured a job in this country. Called-up by England under-18’s in March, Heckingbottom handed him his chance following a prolific season in front of goal at development level, including four in four outings during United’s FA Youth Cup exploits.
“He’s someone I know, obviously, and he’s done really well for the under-18’s and the under-23’s,” Heckingbottom said, after watching Jebbison hit the target seven times in his last 15 appearances for the latter. “He’s got a work ethic to stretch the game, he’s got a work ethic to try and get behind and when the ball is coming into the box, he’s got a real desire to try and get on the end of it. It’s no secret that we’ve struggled to score goals this season.”
The emergence of Jebbison, Iliman Ndiaye, Antwoine Hackford and others has been a rare highlight for United in recent months, with Kyron Gordon and Zak Brunt also being involved at senior level under both Heckingbottom and his predecessor Chris Wilder.