Sheffield United: Boss unlikely to take the cautious route with international duo

Robin Olsen and Conor Hourihane will undergo crash courses in Sheffield United’s tactics and methodology when they report back from international duty.

Wednesday, 8th September 2021, 3:30 pm

Hourihane, signed on loan from Aston Villa, is expected to begin work in earnest at the Steelphalt Academy tomorrow after representing the Republic of Ireland during their latest round of World Cup qualifiers.

But Olsen, who will spend the rest of the Championship season in South Yorkshire after leaving AS Roma, could have only 24 hours’ worth of preparation time before making his United debut when Peterborough visit Bramall Lane on Saturday.

The goalkeeper, Sweden’s first choice option between the posts, is set to represent his country in Greece tonight. Although he will travel straight to England after the contest rather than returning via Stockholm, Olsen is expected to take part on only one training session ahead of the meeting with the visitors from Cambridgeshire.

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Sheffield, UK, 30th August 2021. Conor Hourihane signs on a season long loan for Sheffield United at Shirecliffe , Sheffield. Picture date: 30th August 2021. Picture credit should read: Simon Belliis/Sportimage

In ordinary circumstabces, United manager Slavisa Jokanovic would be tempted to err on the side of caution and name Olsen on the bench before selecting him for Tuesday’s clash with Preston North End.

But with Aaron Ramsdale being poached by Arsenal last month, the 31-year-old’s wealth of experience means he is likely to start at the earliest possible opportunity. Wes Foderingham, previously of Rangers, appears certain to deputise for Olsen following Michael Verrips’ less than convincing performance against West Bromwich Albion earlier this term. The Dutchman was responsible for at least two of the four goals United conceded during a heavy defeat at The Hawthorns, with Ramsdale being withdrawn at the last moment after reaching an agreement with the Londoners.

Sweden's goalkeeper Robin Olsen gestures during the UEFA EURO 2020 round of 16 football match between Sweden and Ukraine at Hampden Park in Glasgow on June 29, 2021. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / POOL / AFP) (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)