Sheffield United: Why new loan signing will only get better as Slavisa Jokanovic's side prepare to face Hull City
The lines of communication between Robin Olsen and his defence will have improved by the time Sheffield United face Hull City this weekend, Slavisa Jokanovic has insisted, after confirming the goalkeeper barely had time to meet the rest of the squad before making his debut for the club.
Signed on loan from AS Roma and forced to quarantine after representing Sweden during the international break, Olsen was selected for Tuesday’s game against Preston North End despite completing only one full session at United’s training complex.
The 31-year-old’s first appearance for Jokanovic’s side proved to be a bitter-sweet experience as, having produced a superb save to deny Emil Riis, he was powerless to prevent the Dane scoring a last gasp equaliser as the visitors claimed a 2-2 draw.
Some observers felt Olsen was partly responsible for allowing Daniel Johnson to cancel-out Morgan Gibbs-White’s first-half opener. However, with the North End captain escaping Rhys Norrington-Davies’ clutches as they contested a long ball forward, he was simply wrong-footed by Johnson’s feint after dashing off his line to try and clear the danger.
Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s trip to the MKM Stadium, Jokanovic said: “With Robin, he has been able to spend the rest of the work working well with us, getting to know us and what the players do which is important.
“He is an experienced goalkeeper and we know the qualities he has got and will bring to the group.”
“Robin had one, I think, chance to meet the players before the (Preston) game,” Jokanovic added. “I thought he had a good game - made one excellent stop which we all saw - and he will benefit as well from the extra time he spends with us in the week.”
Vastly experienced with spells at Malmo, PAOK, FC Copenhagen and Everton also on his CV, Olsen brings a wealth of knowledge to a position which had been filled, with differing degrees of success, by Michael Verrips and Wes Foderingham following Aaron Ramsdale’s move to Arsenal. Initially selected to deputise for Ramsdale, Verrips’ claim to secure the role on a permanent basis was wrecked by an error-strewn performance during last month’s 4-0 defeat by West Bromwich Albion. Foderingham, who joined United from Rangers at the beginning of last season, duly stepped in and acquitted himself well against both Luton Town and Peterborough; making what proved to be a pivotal block to deny Jack Marriott as the scoreline stood at 1-1. United went on to win 6-2 and claim their first victory of the Championship season under Jokanovic, who had used their involvement in the Carabao Cup as an excuse to spare Verrips’ blushes despite being removed from the firing line following his mistakes in the Midlands.
Steve Cowley, the Portsmouth manager, explained the importance of ensuring goalkeepers understand the strengths and weaknesses of their outfield colleagues after recruiting United’s Jake Eastwood on an emergency basis ahead of a Papa John’s Trophy tie against AFC Wimbledon. Although his men were heavily beaten, Cowley admitted Eastwood had been placed in an awkward situation because he was unaware of Portsmouth’s system and tactics after only reporting for duty hours before the fixture.
“Robin, because of his experience, will use his time ahead of Hull well,” Jokanovic said. “It will be good for everyone to work together.”