Sheffield United's newest rising star told to use Man United legend as inspiration after dream rise

Sheffield United starlet challenged to "act like Wayne Rooney" after making Premier League debut
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Sheffield United boss Paul Heckingbottom has challenged promising striker Ryan Oné "to act like Wayne Rooney" after making his Premier League debut at a similar stage of his career to the Manchester United and England legend. Oné's fairytale rise from the third tier of Scottish football continued late last month when he came off the bench against Arsenal at the Emirates.

It was a rare individual positive for the Blades on an afternoon to forget as they were hammered 5-0 by Mikel Arteta's title-chasers, with Oné earning his chance in the squad through a combination of good form for United's U21 side and their dire injury crisis. Oné was back in the U21s in midweek, coming off the bench to score in United's 5-1 hammering of Wigan, and is certainly one to keep an eye on for the future after being plucked from Hamilton Academical on deadline day.

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"He's a good lad, who can handle the ball," said Heckingbottom of the Scotland U19 international. He's quiet. Myself and Jack [Lester, striker coach] will really try to get stuck into him to raise his intensity and make him believe he isn't a 17-year-old coming straight into the Premier League from Hamilton.

"He has to act like he's a 17-year-old Wayne Rooney to perform at this level. That's how you've got to be. We think he's got the physical qualities to be able to perform at this level, whether it's now or in the future, and he's shown enough understanding and ability with the ball to get us interested and excited about working with him."

The son of French former striker Armand Oné, the teenager was previously close to moving to United's Premier League rivals Brighton and Hove Albion - and may get a taste of what could have been if he travels with the Blades squad for this weekend's clash at the American Express Stadium.

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Asked about the difficulties of getting young players to truly believe they belong at Premier League level, often after journeys that wouldn't look out of place in a Roy of the Rovers comic strip, Heckingbottom added: "It goes back to what you do on the pitch. We probably do have to be slightly different with our players.

"We've given a record amount of academy debuts in the years I've been here, something I'm really proud of. A lot of that's been through necessity but a lot of that's been about how we've tried to create the environment, and tried to get a performance out of these players. We do speak with them in a way, and put demands on them in a way, that if you're on the pitch, we expect the same of everyone.

"Will [Osula] started the season, he wasn't in a League One team last season but he's got to try and perform for us in the Premier League. We've got to behave in a way that focuses on things where he can have an impact, and it's the same with all our young players."

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