Sheffield United: Youngster could be set to leave Bramall Lane on loan as boss explains surprising substitution

Femi Seriki could be set to leave Sheffield United on loan, Slavisa Jokanovic has confirmed, after explaining why he substituted the youngster only 10 minutes after bringing him on during this week’s friendly against Doncaster Rovers.

Thursday, 29th July 2021, 5:00 am

Insisting Serki “did nothing wrong” during his brief second-half cameo, Jokanovic told The Star he was withdrawn because Jayden Bogle, who is in contention for a starting role next term, was only fit enough for a brief run-out after suffering what the Serb described as a “Covid issue”.

Elaborating on the switch, which prompted fears Seriki had sustained an injury, Jokanovic acknowledged he is minded to place the teenager with a rival EFL club in order to accelerate his development.

“He (Seriki) has a possibility of going out on loan,” the United manager, who could be seen consoling the 19-year-old after withdrawing him from the action, said. “There is a chance that will happen.

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“He did nothing wrong. I have to stress that, nothing at all. It was just something we needed to do, because of the situation.”

United were forced to close their training ground last week after two players were found to have contracted the coronavirus following a pre-season trip to Spain. Although their identities have not been disclosed, Jokanovic suggested that Bogle was one. Oliver Burke, who scored the opening goal of United’s 4-0 win at the Keepmoat Stadium, is thought to be the other.

Speaking after the penultimate fixture of United’s warm-up programme – they beat Europa Point 3-0 in Estepona earlier this month - Jokanovic said: “We wanted to get Jayden on the pitch, but he could only do some minutes because of a Covid issue. That is why we did what we did.

“I spoke with Femi and told him why. It was just something we needed to do, because we are trying new things and I wanted to try as many of them as possible in the 90 minutes.”

Femi Seriki (centre) celebrates a goal for Sheffield United's under-23 side: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Seriki, previously of Bury, made his senior debut for United during their visit to Newcastle in May. Jokanovic, who took charge three months after United’s relegation from the Premier League was confirmed, added: “It is important, because of the situation, we look at as much as we can in 90 minutes.”

Slavisa Jokanovic: Darren Staples / Sportimage