Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder reveals his big Rhian Brewster dilemma
Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder admits he has a huge decision to make regarding Rhian Brewster’s involvement against Fulham, revealing the centre-forward was not firing on all cylinders when he completed his record-breaking move from Liverpool.
Brewster became the most expensive player in Bramall Lane history after leaving the reigning Premier League champions towards the end of the transfer window, with the £23.5m fee United paid to acquire his services surpassing the £22m they lavished on Norway international Sander Berge nine months ago.
Although Brewster’s presence is designed to solve United’s problems in front of goal - they enter Sunday’s game having scored only once in four Premier League outings so far this term - Wilder refused to confirm if the 20-year-old will start the meeting with Scott Parker’s side or be introduced from the bench.
“Rhian has been fabulous, a breath of fresh air, and he’s given us a real spark,” Wilder said. “But obviously the decision whether to start him or not is a big one, because of the position he came to us in - flitting between Liverpool’s under-23’s and their first team. Often, when players do that, they aren’t quite in the condition you want them to be in or they want to be in. So we’ll see.”
With Oliver Burke and David McGoldrick both sustaining injuries on international duty, the likelihood is that Brewster will be handed his full debut as United attempt to arrest a run of four straight defeats. Fulham are also without a point so far this term, with Parker learning last night that new loan signing Joachim Andersen is out for the “foreseeable future” after damaging knee ligaments in training.
“Rhian has been fabulous (in training) and really settled in, he’s been brilliant around the place,” Wilder added. “But that’s to do with the attitude of the players around him here too.”
United could also be without John Fleck and John Egan when they return to action for the first time since being edged out by Arsenal a fortnight ago. The latter missed the Republic of Ireland’s Nations League ties against Wales and Finland after being deemed to be a close contact of someone who was later diagnosed with Covid-19, although Wilder is hopeful the defender will be granted permission to take part.
“I’ll give them until the last minute,” Wilder said. “We’ll make decisions over the next 24 to 48 hours. We’ll give everyone the opportunity to put their hands up and be available.”
Despite their poor run of results, Wilder remains convinced United possess both the character and the calibre to lift themselves out of danger, although the club’s failure to recruit cover and competition for Jack Robinson, now the only left-footed centre-half at their disposal after Jack O’Connell underwent surgery to cure a knee complaint, was a disappointment.
“I don’t see a team feeling sorry for itself, I really don’t,” Wilder said. “I don’t see a team that’s got the white flag out. Obviously it’s difficult when so many go away, because you can’t have time off or time to work on things tactically. They have worked extremely hard individually. But it’s been impossible to do any work as units, because we can’t with so many of them not being here.”