Injuries to Baldock and Bogle could open up opportunity for another of Sheffield United's highly-rated youngsters to make jump to Premier League squad
Another of Sheffield United’s talented young academy players could be placed on standby to make a Premier League debut against Arsenal last weekend, after both of the Blades’ first-choice right-backs were substituted with concussion-related issues at Leeds on Saturday.
George Baldock became United’s first-ever concussion substitute when he was replaced just before half-time at Elland Road, after taking a blow to the head in a collision with Leeds’ Tyler Roberts.
Baldock initially continued to play after being treated and observed, before reporting a worsening of his symptoms and being substituted.
Although Jayden Bogle’s withdrawal later in the game was not an official concussion substitute, he was also observed by United’s doctors on Saturday evening after being caught in the face by Ezgjan Alioski’s arm.
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Bogle was helped from the field by United’s medical staff and looked uneasy on his feet. United aren’t next in action until next Sunday, so one or both of the players may be declared fit to play under the FA’s tightened concussion protocols, which specify at least six days before a player returns to action.
But if they are ruled out of the meeting with Mikel Arteta’s men, that could open up an opportunity for Femi Seriki to be called up to Paul Heckingbottom’s senior squad for the first time after the temporary Blades boss hinted that Baldock and Bogle’s injuries could present “another opportunity for somebody else”.
Seriki is the right wing-back for the U23s, who play a similar formation to the first team, and has earned rave reviews for his performances this season.
"We could sit here and moan but it is another problem for us, we know that," Heckingbottom said.
"But it will be another opportunity for somebody else and that is what we have to do.
"We want to start having players back. I would love to have every player fully fit and have the difficult choices of picking an 11, but at least then we can chop and change and keep people hungry and have more competition for places.
"At the minute we haven't got that and today we had to shuffle the pack twice. That happens and we will have to get on with it."