Sheffield United: The most surprising detail of Kieran Dowell’s loan agreement

Kieran Dowell on his Sheffield United debut: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
Kieran Dowell on his Sheffield United debut: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Everton have not inserted any penalty clauses, financial or otherwise, into the agreement which saw Kieran Dowell arrive at Bramall Lane last month.

The England under-21 midfielder is expected to make his Championship debut for Sheffield United this weekend after joining Chris Wilder's side on loan until the end of the season.

Despite the intense competition for Dowell's services, Goodison Park's hierarchy decided against insisting he must feature in every game or a pre-determined numnber of fixtures before sanctioning the player's move to South Yorkshire.

Everton's approach is in direct contrast to the one adopted by their neighbours Liverpool, who insist upon a sliding scale of payments linked directly to game-time before allowing any of their youngsters to depart on a temporary basis.

"There's no penalties with the Kieran deal," a source in the North-West confirmed. "If anybody says otherwise, well, they're talking nonsense."

Dowell, aged 21, made his first appearance in a United jersey during Sunday's FA Cup tie against Barnet and was one of the few players to escape manager Wilder's wrath following the 1-0 defeat. Intriguingly, given the different policies both clubs implement, he is viewed as a replacement for Ben Woodburn who has failed to impress since leaving Anfield on loan at the beginning of the campaign.

Chris Wilder signed Kieran Dowell from Everton: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Chris Wilder signed Kieran Dowell from Everton: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

United had no issue with Liverpool's insistence upon linking playing-time to payments ahead of Woodburn's switch, with Wilder acknowledging at the time they had been "factored in" to his employer's own cost projections.

Although Dowell is likely to start United's meeting with Queens Park Rangers on the bench, his presence provides Wilder with greater flexibility; both in terms of 'in-match' decision-making and pre-match selections.

Fielding a consistent eleven across the Christmas period, which saw United win three and draw one of their four outings, persuaded Wilder and his staff to rotate United's squad for the visit of Darren Currie's side. Despite criticising his team's display, the 51-year-old privately concedes making so many changes contributed to what was an abject display against National League opposition.

United have prepared for the visit of ninth-placed Rangers in third, two points behind Norwich City who occupy the second automatic promotion berth.

Kieran Dowell in action for Everton : Richard Sellers/PA Wire

Kieran Dowell in action for Everton : Richard Sellers/PA Wire