Sheffield United youngster eyes World Cup glory and Premier League start

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Daniel Jebbison hopes to use the FIFA under-20 World Cup as a springboard into Sheffield United’s Premier League starting eleven.

The Young Lions begin their assault on the tournament with a game against Tunisia tonight, before completing their group schedule with meetings against Uruguay and Iraq. Having seen their efforts to emulate the Class of 2017, who lifted the trophy in South Korea, complicated by both the timing of the event and domestic politicking, Ian Foster’s squad arrived in Argentina woefully under-strength and short of preparation time. But that could work to Jebbison’s advantage, with the head coach departing for South America with only 13 outfield players at his disposal. It means the United centre-forward is almost guaranteed to be handed a prominent role as Foster’s men attempt to advance to the knockout stages.

Speaking to The Star before the latest instalment of the biennial event got underway, Jebbison said: “It’s great to be a part of and I’ve learnt so much from being involved with England, through the age groups. When you look at what some of the others who have taken part in it have gone on to do, it’s obvious how important it is and what it can do for you.

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“First and foremost, we want to do well for the country. But on a personal level, there’s so much you can gain from it as well. Hopefully I’m selected and can make it. I’ll be extremely proud if that happens.”

Jebbison was referring to the fact that the matches, which had been set to be staged in Indonesia before they were stripped of that right due to protests against Israel’s participation, are taking place whilst the Premier League seasons and English Football League play-offs are still going on. That has led to a number of his team mates either being unable to travel or being prevented by their clubs from doing so. One of those, Chelsea’s Carney Chukwuemeka, has been mooted as a possible transfer target for United as they prepare for their return to the top-flight. Although the Londoners’ decision has denied Paul Heckingbottom the opportunity to potentially watch him in action with Jebbison, the United manager will be encouraged by the fact the 19-year-old is now set to enjoy plenty of game time in South America.

Another Randox Health Academy graduate, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, scored the goal which saw England lift the trophy in Asia. He now represents Everton while Fikayo Tomori, Kyle Walker-Peters, Dominic Solanke and Ainsley Maitland-Niles have also gone on to win full senior caps.

Sheffield United's Daniel Jebbison has travelled to Argentina for the under-20 World Cup: Paul Thomas /SportimageSheffield United's Daniel Jebbison has travelled to Argentina for the under-20 World Cup: Paul Thomas /Sportimage
Sheffield United's Daniel Jebbison has travelled to Argentina for the under-20 World Cup: Paul Thomas /Sportimage

Calvert-Lewin was on the pitch when Jebbison became the youngest player to score on their full PL debut during United’s win at Goodison Park two years ago. In caretaker charge at the time, Heckingbottom has gone on to select him on another 30 occasions, speaking in glowing terms about Jebbison’s potential whilst also highlighting areas where he must improve in order to become a regular pick in the top-flight after helping United win automatic promotion from the Championship last term.

“The standard is always really high,” Jebbison said. “You see where some of the lads are now, what they’re doing, and it is clear you’re out there with the best young lads in the world.”