Sheffield United: Why one former Blades favourite insists Rhian Brewster will become a big hit at Bramall Lane
Carl Asaba, the former Sheffield United centre-forward, is convinced Rhian Brewster can go on to become a huge hit at Bramall Lane despite enduring a difficult start to life in South Yorkshire.
Brewster will enter Saturday’s game against Stoke City still searching for his first league goal since completing a £23.5m move from Liverpool 12 months ago.
Although that barren run has inevitably prompted some to question the wisdom of the United’s decision to make him the most expensive signing in their history, Asaba insisted there is already a wealth of evidence to suggest manager Slavisa Jokanovic will eventually be rewarded if he perseveres with the youngster.
“Listen, there’s no point in pretending it’s not been difficult for Rhian,” Asaba told The Star. “He’s not scored as he would have liked and there’s the whole pressure on his head about the transfer fee so, because of that, his confidence is going to be a bit low.
“What I like, though, is how he approaches the games. He puts it all in and, even when he’s been asked to go out wide, he gives everything. He just tries to do his job. Seriously, if we stick with him then in two or three years time I think everyone is going to be mighty glad we did.”
Asaba, who spent two years with United before joining City in 2003, used Brewster’s contribution to the recent 3-1 win at Hull City to support his theory.
“Rhian was put out wide for that game and what I loved about his display was, even given the situation he’s in, even though he’ll be desperate to score goals, he showed huge desire to track back and help out,” Asaba said. “He didn’t shirk his responsibilities. He fronted up and that tells you something. Genuinely, I thought that was great to see.”
“All he needs is a few goals during a decent run of games,” Asaba added. “I understand the manager can’t find an excuse to put him there at the moment but if he does get a chance, and then he takes a couple, he’ll be off and running.
“Billy Sharp, he’s the man at the moment and it’s just stupid what he does - he just gets better as he gets older. Honestly, it’s ridiculous. So what Rhian has got to do - and the same goes for Oli McBurnie who I also really admire because of his attitude - is just make sure he’s ready in training so, when an opening to go in does come about - he’s the one the manager goes for.”
Brewster, aged 21, has spent the international break with England under-21’s having also been capped by his country at U16, U17 and U18 level. Before heading to Anfield, he spent time at Chelsea’s academy.
“Listen, I don’t care what anyone says, you don’t play for your country or get taken on by clubs like Liverpool and Chelsea if you don’t have serious ability,” Asaba said. “You can’t con so many managers at different levels for England. Rhian is clearly a player. All he’s got to do is stick with it, keep putting it all in so the fans stay right behind him, encouraging him to do well, and it will happen. No doubt about it in my mind.”