Sheffield United: Boss denies behind the scenes issue as Rhian Brewster limps-off

Paul Heckingbottom has again denied Sheffield United have a particular problem with injuries after Rhian Brewster became the latest member of his squad to succumb to injury, insisting that football as a whole is becoming more dangerous for players.
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Brewster, United’s record transfer signing, limped-out of today’s 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion shortly after coming on as a substitute; clutching the back of a leg after pulling-up as he hunted down possession.

Heckingbottom later confirmed the 22-year-old had damaged a hamstring, although he warned it is “impossible to know” if it is a recurrence of the issue which forced him to miss the second half of last term.

Erik Pieters of West Bromwich Albion moves the ball away from Rhian Brewster of Sheffield United: Andrew Yates / SportimageErik Pieters of West Bromwich Albion moves the ball away from Rhian Brewster of Sheffield United: Andrew Yates / Sportimage
Erik Pieters of West Bromwich Albion moves the ball away from Rhian Brewster of Sheffield United: Andrew Yates / Sportimage
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“It’s a hamstring yes, and it’s the nature of the game,” replied Heckingbottom, when asked if something is going wrong behind the scenes at Bramall Lane. “It’s the nature of the game, how it is right now, with explosive players who run with power and pace.

“Certain players can be prone but, when you look across football, what is becoming apparent is the nature and the number of the muscle injuries happening to high speed players. And they tend to be big ones quite often.

“I remember looking at some data a few years back, which showed that the number of high speed sprints had doubled. I bet, if I go back and do the same thing now, that the same thing has happened again.”

Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom: Andrew Yates / SportimageSheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom: Andrew Yates / Sportimage
Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom: Andrew Yates / Sportimage

With Sander Berge, Max Lowe, Jayden Bogle and Rhys Norrington-Davies all unavailable for selection ahead of next week’s visit to Bristol City, Heckingbottom admitted that the “load” being placed upon certain members of his team is proving impossible to manage.

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“We are going to have to look at things like that, with the wing-backs as well,” said Heckingbottom, whose disappointment at Brewster’s predicament was tempered by the sight of Enda Stevens making his return to action following a long lay-off. “We’ve not been able to protect those players, because we’ve not been able to change things as much as would otherwise have been the case. It’s something we’re going to have to look at, though - trying to give them some protection.”