Sheffield United's plan for Sander Berge and Chris Basham after duo make returns from injury against Spurs

Sheffield United will look to give Sander Berge and Chris Basham more minutes between now and the end of the season after the influential duo returned from injury for Sunday’s heavy defeat at Tottenham Hotspur.

Monday, 3rd May 2021, 5:00 pm
Paul Heckingbottom interim manager of Sheffield United with Sander Berge after defeat at Spurs: David Klein / Sportimage

Basham returned after over a month out to play 90 minutes, while Berge was introduced as a half-time substitute for his first taste of competitive football since he damaged a hamstring against Manchester United back in December.

Both men were unable to prevent United falling to a heavy defeat, with Gareth Bale scoring a hat-trick for the hosts, but were far from culpable either, with Basham in particular playing in an unfamiliar role on the left of a back three in the first half with Kean Bryan and Ethan Ampadu both missing.

“We've got players back and I'm delighted Bash and Sander have minutes under their belts,” boss Paul Heckingbottom said.

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“We know and they know and everyone watching knows that they're not going to be at their best because of how long they've been out of action.

“But we've got games between now and the end of the season and our fate is sealed so we will be looking to use them again and make sure they're in a good place ready for next season.

“It’s good for them to be back, because they’ve worked hard.

“If we had everyone available, we might have kept the same team from Brighton [a 1-0 win last weekend] but we had to make changes.

“Bash coped really well on the left side, in an unfamiliar role for him.

“But the performance in the first half, no-one could see that coming. So we had to change it about at half-time, and that allowed Sander to get minutes.”

Ampadu was missing from the squad at Spurs with a groin complaint, while Bryan was absent to be with his partner at the birth of their second child.

Berge may now be in contention to start next weekend, when United face Crystal Palace at Bramall Lane, while Basham’s return may signal the end of the experiment of playing George Baldock at centre-half in the 3-5-2 formation that Heckingbottom has persevered with after assuming temporary control in March.