How Sheffield United's players rated in 1-0 opening-day defeat to Birmingham

Sheffield United kicked off their new season with a disappointing 1-0 defeat to Birmingham City in Slavisa Jokanovic’s first game in charge.

Saturday, 7th August 2021, 10:30 pm
Oli McBurnie of Sheffield United looks on dejected after the final whistle: Simon Bellis / Sportimage

Maxime Colin’s first-half header proved the difference between the two sides. Here’s how we rated United’s players...

Aaron Ramsdale 6

Serenaded with chants of ‘England’s No.1’ early on after coming out bravely to block the danger and colliding with Jutkiewicz, but the flag had already been raised. Could have conceded more after being left exposed by the defence in front of him – sound familiar? – and United only conceded one due to some good fortune, really as Birmingham had a goal disallowed and missed some sitters

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George Baldock 6

A good attacking threat down the right after being found almost at will by Norwood with his diagonal balls, giving Bela a real headache. But too often the final product either wasn’t good enough or, when it was, there was no-one able to get on the head of it

John Egan 6

Good early block denied Chong from testing Ramsdale as Birmingham looked to put United on the back foot early. Showed his visible frustration by kicking the post after some more abject defending from his teammates. Given a difficult test by Jutciewicz in the air, who should have had a goal and an assist for his performance

Jack Robinson 5

Lined up in a back four to Egan’s left and it wasn’t the most convincing of performances. Looked solid in a back three in the Premier League but may be targeted by teams who see Egan as the stronger of the two going forward

Ben Osborn 5

A difficult afternoon for the midfielder by trade, who was utilised as a left-back in a back four and was outjumped by Colin for the winner, although the City man did have the run on him in fairness. Did have some moments, including nice passes for Brewster and Burke, but not a game he’ll look back on fondly

Ollie Norwood 6

Found Baldock with those raking passes at will at times but his corners were disappointing at times – although that may be an issue for those in the middle not challenging the goalkeeper vigorously enough.

Sander Berge 7

Made his Championship debut on the back of 45 minutes of game time in pre-season and looked a cut above, particularly in the final stages of the game. Birmingham took it in turns to try and chop him down – Woods took a booking after having about five goes in one challenge – but when he took up that position down the right, he was a constant threat. Can still impose himself even more, for me, but it was an encouraging start to the season for the £22m man

John Fleck 6

Gave no quarter in a crunching early tackle with Gardner and could, and should, have won United a penalty when his well-hit volley cannoned back off Gardner’s arm. Replaced by Sharp as United changed shape to get back in the game

Lys Mousset 6

Looked a danger as he had in pre-season although didn’t have a clear-cut chance of goal, dragging one shot across the face of goal when well placed. Gave United an injury scare when he stretched for a Burke cross and looked to damage something, signalling immediately that he couldn’t continue

David McGoldrick 6

Looked to fashion his own chance when he curled a shot goalwards but it went just wide of Sarkic’s post. Worked tirelessly for the team but couldn’t help set up a clear-cut chance for his teammates

Oli Burke 6

Showed his intent early on as he attacked down the left but couldn’t find a way past Dean. Hit the post soon after Birmingham’s opening goal and was replaced

Subs

Rhian Brewster 6

Replaced Mousset to a roar from the Kop and a rendition of his new song, but couldn’t find that elusive first goal in Blades colours. Showed some nice flashes

Billy Sharp 6

Gave the crowd a lift as he was introduced for Fleck

McBurnie 6

Came off the bench after missing the whole of pre-season and placed noticeably deep, coming short to link the play