Genuine buzz and excitement about Sheffield United's academy is deserved, says U23 boss after Blades babes book cup final date

Graham Coughlan admits there is a “genuine buzz and excitement” around Sheffield United’s academy after his U23 side booked their place in the Professional Development League national final earlier this week.

Tuesday, 18th May 2021, 4:00 pm

A hat-trick from U18 striker Will Osula, after an early opener from Andre Brooks, saw United’s youngsters breeze past Ipswich Town 4-0 in their semi-final at Bramall Lane on Monday evening.

United’s U23s won their league at a canter and will now face Birmingham City in the final next week. They beat the Blues twice in the regular season, including a 5-o victory.

A number of youngsters from the academy have also had experience of first-team football this season, with Antwoine Hackford becoming United’s youngest ever Premier League player and 17-year-old Daniel Jebbison scoring the winner on his senior debut at Everton at the weekend.

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And Coughlan said: “It must be a striker’s dream to play in this team. With the players we have, we’ll always create chances.

“All in all, we have to be pleased. There is a genuine buzz around the academy and around the U23s, a lot of excitement and good talent, and top young coaches in the background too.

“Will has been excellent, he’s taken his chances but he’s still a young lad. He’ll score some, he’ll miss some. But he bounces back really, really well.”

Will Osula of Sheffield United is congratulated by his teammates after sealing his hat-trick against Ipswich: Simon Bellis / Sportimage

Zak Brunt and Kyron Gordon have both been in the senior squad in recent weeks, while Femi Seriki enhanced his reputation even further with a sublime cross for one of Osula’s three goals.

“They deserve it,” Coughlan added.

“I’ve not seen them all season, so others will know better than me about that, but in the 11 or 12 games since I’ve come here, I’ve been really impressed with them.

U23 joint managers Graham Coughlan and Darren Currie with the PDL North trophy: Andrew Yates / Sportimage

“With how they go about their work and how they apply themselves.

“But every coach and manager will seek perfection, and I do think we could have been better. A lot cleaner on the ball. And that’s something we’ll maybe look at [before the final].

“But fair play to them; the opportunity is there for them in the final. There’s no point getting to finals if you don’t go and win it.”