Sheffield United: Sander Berge keeps Slavisa Jokanovic sweating during the international break
Despite being forced to miss his country’s forthcoming World Cup qualifiers against Turkey and Montenegro, Sheffield United hope Sander Berge will be available for selection when they return to action later this month.
Berge has been out of action since September 18th’s visit to Hull City, which Slavisa Jokanovic’s side won 3-1, after suffering an injury during the warm-up at the MKM Stadium.
Jokanovic, the United manager, was reluctant to reveal the exact nature of the problem Berge sustained - or describe the treatment he is receiving - during his final conversations with journalists before the international break. However the Serb, did confirm it is not a recurrence of the hamstring complaint which forced Berge to undergo surgery midway through last term.
Initially, United had pencilled the Norway midfielder into their plans for Saturday’s trip to AFC Bournemouth before erasing his name from the squad list 48 hours before kick-off.
“Sander won’t be ready, no,” Jokanovic stated ahead of the trip to Dorset, where his team were beaten 2-1 in controversial circumstances. “He won’t be involved in this one.”
By refusing to “take a risk” with one of the most expensive talents at his disposal, Jokanovic effectively confirmed Berge is not responding to treatment as quickly as United’s medical staff would like. But the fact he even considered taking the 23-year-old to Dorset also indicated he had entered the closing stages of his rehabilitation programme before its schedule was revised.
Berge had been named in Stale Solbakken’s squad for the upcoming UEFA Group G fixtures, with the former Wimbledon player’s team currently sitting in second; behind Holland on goal difference. However Berge did not appear on the updated roster published by the Norwegian media on Monday.
Napoli, Atalanta and Arsenal all expressed an interest in acquiring Berge’s services following United’s relegation from the Premier League last season. But with neither the Italians nor Mikel Arteta’s employers willing to meet his valuation, Berge remained at United after being told by Jokanovic he could help them return to the top-flight at the first time of asking.