Sheffield United boss delivers his verdict on debutant Sander Berge

Sander Berge ‘looks like a Sheffield United player’, manager Chris Wilder insisted after parachuting the club’s record signing straight into his starting eleven at Crystal Palace.

Saturday, 1st February 2020, 6:19 pm

Berge, who completed a £22m move from Genk before last night’s transfer deadline, completed nearly three quarters of United’s 1-0 win over Roy Hodgson’s side; which lifted the visitors to fifth in the Premier League table.

Insisting he had no qualms about handing Berge his full debut in south London rather than introducing him from the bench, Wilder said: “It’s been a hectic 72 hours for Sander. But I thought it was the right thing to do.

“He looks like a Sheffield United player, he’s big, he’s strong and he’s athletic. He’s a good footballer.

Sign up to our Sheffield United newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Chris Wilder manager of Sheffield United welcomes Sander Berge as he signs for Sheffield United at the Steelphalt Academy, Sheffield. Picture date: 30th January 2020. Picture credit should read: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
Chris Wilder manager of Sheffield United welcomes Sander Berge as he signs for Sheffield United at the Steelphalt Academy, Sheffield. Picture date: 30th January 2020. Picture credit should read: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

“The look on his face when he came off was ‘wow.’ He knows he needs to get up to speed. But he will and he did well.”

Berge, aged 21, won the Jupiler League and represented Hannes Wolf’s side in the Champions League group stages before arriving in South Yorkshire.

Wilder, who also praised John Lundstranm’s performance after he replaced the Norway international in the 68th minute, said: “Sander can be pleased with his performance and there’s to come.

“He’s 21, he’s played Champions League football and he’s won a league title in Belgium. He’ll get better and he’ll adapt and he’ll certainly improve us as a football club.”

A mistake by goalkeeper Vicente Guaita, who carried Oliver Norwood’s centre over his own line, handed United their second win of the campaign over Palace.

“We were apprehensive going into the league after a fantastic campaign in the Championship,” Wilder, whose team were promoted last term, said. “With no experience except maybe Phil Jagielka. It was difficult conditions but we have an honesty and a structure and a desire, which gives us a chance.”