Striker set for Sheffield United debrief after international agony

Sheffield United centre-forward Daniel Jebbison is set for a debrief with members of the Premier League club’s coaching staff before taking a holiday following England’s exit from the FIFA under-20 World Cup.
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After appearing in all three of the Young Lions’ group encounters, the 19-year-old remained on the bench as Ian Foster’s side were defeated by Italy in the round of 16. After flying back from Argentina with his international team mates, Jebbison is expected to speak with Paul Heckingbottom or Bramall Lane’s head of player development Jack Lester ahead of the “break from football” United’s manager wants all of his players to enjoy ahead of the new campaign.

Despite Wednesday night’s disappointment in La Plata, Heckingbottom believes Jebbison’s experiences at the tournament will prove invaluable as the centre-forward looks to secure a regular starting role in the top-flight next term.

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“You see the lads who go away with their countries, the greatest honour you can have in the game by the way, and they always come back a little bit different because they’ve learnt something new,” said Heckingbottom, who insists Jebbison has the attributes required to develop into a fearsome PL striker. “That might be a different way of playing, a different voice or a situation on the pitch, because of the opposition, they’ve not come across before.”

“The other thing,” Heckingbottom continued, “I’ve noticed, because they are so determined to remain involved, is the drive and the focus it gives them. I’m not saying they are more driven or focused than people who aren’t going away. But there is a change.”

Jebbison made 19 appearances for United last term as they won automatic promotion from the Championship and reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup where he started the tie against Manchester City at Wembley. After scoring twice in three outings, against Millwall and Hull City, Heckingbottom suspected the 19-year-old was on the cusp of a major breakthrough until a controversial red card, during a draw with Wrexham, curbed his momentum.

Daniel Jebbison in action for Sheffield United: Simon Bellis / SportimageDaniel Jebbison in action for Sheffield United: Simon Bellis / Sportimage
Daniel Jebbison in action for Sheffield United: Simon Bellis / Sportimage

After featuring against Tunisia, Uruguay and Iraq - striking the crossbar during a goalless draw with the latter - the arrival of several players who had missed the group phase of the tournament dashed Jebbison’s hopes of facing the Italians, who progressed thanks to a late penalty after Alfie Devine of Tottenham Hotspur had cancelled out the Azzurini’s opener. The new arrivals included Chelsea’s Carney Chukwuemeka, who has been linked with a loan move to South Yorkshire.

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Heckingbottom was responsible for handing Jebbison his senior debut during a spell in caretaker charge of United before being appointed on a permanent basis 19 months ago. After scoring on his full Premier League debut, against Everton at Goodison Park, Jebbison then completed a loan placement at Burton Albion in order to study under former Holland, Chelsea and Atletico Madrid marksman Jimmy Floyd-Hasselbaink.

“If you look at the qualities Daniel has got,” Heckingbottom said, “I wouldn’t fancy playing against him. He’s got the pace and the physical attributes. His power will come through even more as he matures and gets older. Those are all of the things people are looking for nowadays and so the challenge for him now is to kick-on and make the most of them. We’ll give him all the help he needs to do that.”