Sheffield United: Teen ace tipped for the top

George Long
George Long
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FIT-again Matt Hill feels his Sheffield United team-mate George Long is destined for big things.

The 19-year-old goalkeeper has been a key member of Danny Wilson’s squad since graduating from United’s youth academy at Shirecliffe. In between the sticks, Long has kept 11 clean sheets in 27 starts since bursting into the starting line-up in October following Mark Howard’s injury.

“George has come in and performed excellently,” said Hill, who has been an unused substitute in the club’s last three League One matches after recovering from a broken jaw. “When he has had to make saves, he has proved what a good goalkeeper he is. His concentration levels are very good.

“George has got the potential to go really far in the game and hopefully with Sheffield United.”

Because Long is inexperienced at senior level, Hill accepts the teenager will make the odd error. Long received criticism in some quarters following his error against Yeovil Town in January and he was arguably at fault for Coventry City’s winner earlier this month.

“There will be times when he will make mistakes but it is all part of his learning curve,” Hill insisted.

“Mistakes will happen from time to time but George has been very consistent. He is a good example to the rest of the young lads here on how to take their chance.”

Hill, who can be deployed at centre-half or left-back, is expected to be in United’s squad for their clash at second-placed Bournemouth this Saturday. Just one point separates the two sides but the Cherries have tasted defeat just once on home soil all season. Eddie Howe’s men are joint top with Swindon Town.