Rhian Brewster is told what he must do to earn more minutes for Sheffield United this season
Paul Heckingbottom has told Rhian Brewster what he has to do to earn more minutes for Sheffield United between now and the end of the Premier League season, after predicting there are “plenty of goals” in the former Liverpool youngster.
The England U21 international has failed to find the back of the net for United since becoming their record signing in October, and has suffered a frustrating international break too.
Brewster has played just 21 minutes in total off the bench in England U21s’ two European Championship defeats so far, which have left their hopes of qualifying for this summer’s knockout phase hanging by a thread.
But the youngster was tantalisingly close to his first goal in United colours in their last game, an FA Cup quarter-final defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, when his late, well-struck shot was deflected narrowly wide of Kepa Arrizabalaga’s goal.
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And Heckingbottom, speaking ahead of this weekend’s Yorkshire derby against his former club Leeds, said: “I spoke with Rhian and I think he responded well. I’ve been pleased with him in training and I knew he’d get some minutes at Chelsea.
“We went with a bit more physical presence up top with Didzy and Oli, and I was pleased with those two as well, but Rhian certainly deserved his minutes from the impact that I’ve seen since I’ve been in, and we need and want that.
“I’ve made it clear to the forwards, because we’ve got plenty, that if they’re not training properly or applying themselves properly, then we’ll play the ones that are training and performing the best in matches.
“We expect that response and if Rhian is still pushing and going in that direction then he’ll certainly get more minutes, because I think there’s plenty of goals in him.”
Brewster was described as “one of the country's hottest properties” by former Blades boss Chris Wilder when he signed the striker, who penned a five-year deal in a move that could have been worth as much as £23.5m with add-ons.
He scored 11 times in half a season for Swansea last season in the Championship and will be a key man for United next season when, as looks likely, their relegation from the Premier League is confirmed.