Sheffield United: Key first-team star steps up fitness bid with 45 minutes for U23s as young striker nets FOUR in Colchester United rout

Enda Stevens made his long-awaited return from injury as Sheffield United’s U23s, inspired by four goals from lethal striker Will Osula, hammered their Colchester United counterparts 5-1 at Bramall Lane.

Tuesday, 22nd March 2022, 4:43 pm

Stevens has been out since January with a calf complaint, but stepped up his recovery with 45 minutes for the U23s in the international break before being replaced as planned at the break.

Colchester actually took the lead in the Bramall Lane sunshine, Chay Cooper curling a free-kick that caught out Jake Eastwood.

12 free agents Sheffield United could sign amid defensive injury crisis

Sign up to our Sheffield United newsletter

Just over 30 seconds later the Blades were level, however, when Osula took advantage of his man going to ground injured to score at the second attempt after his initial effort was saved.

And just 19 seconds after play was restarted again, the Blades had the chance to go ahead when Stevens won the ball back, Osula was sent clear and then brought down as he looked to convert.

Osula grabbed the ball and duly sent the goalkeeper the wrong way from the spot, in front of the watching Blades boss Paul Heckingbottom.

Will Osula netted four times for Sheffield United's U23s in their hammering of Colchester United: Andrew Yates / Sportimage

Hassan Ayari got in on the act to make it 3-1 in the first half, with a composed finish after a nice backheel from Sydie Peck, before Osula sealed his hat-trick with another penalty in front of the Kop.

The young striker, who recently made his debut for Denmark’s U19s side before making his professional bow as a young substitute in United’s goalless draw at Blackpool, then made it four after rolling his man expertly and then finding the bottom corner.

Enda Stevens has been reduced to a watching brief for Sheffield United in recent weeks: Simon Bellis / Sportimage