Sheffield United: The real reason why Rhian Brewster was left out against Stoke City

Slavisa Jokanovic explained why Rhian Brewster was omitted from Sheffield United’s squad for their victory over Stoke City after confirming the centre-forward did not suffer an injury whilst on duty with the England under-21 squad.

Sunday, 17th October 2021, 3:00 pm

Having mounted a passionate defence of Brewster’s capabilities ahead of kick-off, Jokanovic’s decision came as a surprise to those who had listened to him outline his plan to restore the confidence of a player he described as “one of the most talented youngsters” in the country only 48 hours earlier.

Their most expensive ever signing, Brewster is still searching for his first league goal in United colours since completing a £23.5m transfer from Liverpool 12 months ago and his self-belief suffered another blow when he was controversially sent-off during the Young Lions’ game against Andorra last week.

Speaking after watching substitutes Lys Mousset and David McGoldrick score the goals which condemned City to defeat - the visitors had earlier taken the lead through Jacob Brown - Jokanovic told The Star his team selection had been influenced by tactical considerations rather than concerns about Brewster’s form.

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“This was my decision with Rhian, and I was really pleased with the bench,” he said. “I took the decision to drop one (striker). I don’t expect him (Brewster) to be there all the time, the same as I don’t expect anyone to be there all the time.”

“Oli McBurnie, he played an important 30 minutes in the last game (at Bournemouth),” Jokanovic added, his focus turning towards Tuesday’s meeting with Millwall. “Yet he didn’t play.

“Work hard and trust in yourself. We look at tactical and technical. He (Brewster) will fight and get in.”

Rhian Brewster applauds the Sheffield United fans: Simon Bellis / Sportimage
Oli McBurnie didn't feature against Stoke City: Simon Bellis / Sportimage