Sheffield United: Blades youngster defended despite difficult debut

Sheffield United goalkeeper Jake Eastwood’s performance during Portsmouth’s Papa John’s Trophy defeat by AFC Wimbledon has been defended, with Danny Cowley absolving the youngster of any responsibility for the fact they conceded five times at Plough Lane.

Wednesday, 8th September 2021, 12:19 pm

Eastwood moved to Fratton Park on an emergency seven day loan following a Covid-19 outbreak among Cowley’s squad.

Despite watching his team beaten 5-3 by the Londoners, Cowley refused to lay the blame for the loss at Eastwood’s door - revealing he was only introduced to his new team mates less than four hours before kick-off.

“I don’t want to make excuses, it’s the circumstances we all live in in this world and the moment and you have to adapt,” Cowley said. “We adapted and young Jake joined us at the Cobham Hilton (hotel) at 4pm before the game so it wasn’t ideal. I thought he did fine.”

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Portsmouth goalkeeper Jake Eastwood during the EFL Trophy match between AFC Wimbledon and Portsmouth at Plough Lane, London, United Kingdom on 7 September 2021.

“It wasn’t an easy day for him,” Cowley continued, speaking during his post-match interview with The Star’s sister paper The News. “We didn’t protect him anywhere near as well as we could have done - or anywhere near as well as I expect from my team.

“It certainly changed the way we played because he doesn’t know our way and we didn’t do any rehearsal or practice.”

United were able to let Eastwood depart after signing Robin Olsen or Sweden and AS Roma on a temporary basis before last month’s transfer deadline. Olsen is set to make his debut for Slavisa Jokanovic’s team when Peterborough visit South Yorkshire this weekend, with Wes Foderingham expected to be chosen as his deputy ahead of Michael Verrips.