A talented boy with great pace - Who is Sheffield United starlet Antwoine Hackford?

He is the name on most Blades fans' lips after making his Sheffield United debut against Crystal Palace, despite being just 16 years of age.

Saturday, 2nd January 2021, 2:18 pm
Updated Saturday, 2nd January 2021, 9:23 pm

So who is Antwoine Hackford?

Born in Arbourthorne, the young striker has caused quite a stir with his eye for goal at youth level.

He was called up for United's pre-season tour of Scotland, and came on for a 10-minute cameo against Hearts. He almost scored moments later, and was rewarded with more minutes in United's friendly against Preston at Bramall Lane.

Sign up to our Sheffield United newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

On that pre-season tour Hackford, along with fellow youngster Zak Brunt, sang in front of United's first team squad - a traditional rite of passage for new faces at Bramall Lane.

"It breaks the ice and, really, we want to make sure the boys coming through feel welcome,” said Billy Sharp, of Hackford’s initiation.

"It’s important they feel comfortable but not too comfortable, because that’s not a good thing in this business.”

Hackford was named in the Guardian's Next Generation 2020 list - detailing 20 of the best talents at Premier League clubs - and has serious pace, but also an eye for goal.

Antwoine Hackford of Sheffield Utd and Patrick Bauer of Preston during the Pre Season Friendly match at Bramall Lane, Sheffield. Picture date: 4th September 2020. Picture credit should read: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

He has already represented England at youth levels and was taken on as a scholar into United's academy earlier this year.

“He has great pace,” Mick Wadsworth, United's former senior youth development coach, told The Athletic.

“He’s better than average for his age group as a player and he believes in himself.

“Most importantly, though, what he has is a real eye for goal. He scored goals at every level. When I was still there, he had a couple of appearances for the youth team, playing three or four years up from his own age, but he did okay.

"A talented boy — no doubt about that.”

When he came off the bench at Selhurst Park, Hackford became United's youngest Premier League player - but not their youngest of all time.

Hackford was 16 years and 288 days old on Saturday. Louis Reed is United's youngest ever player, making his debut at 16 years and 257 days old, while Trenton Wiggan was just 16 years and 328 days old when he played away at Doncaster Rovers in a League Cup tie in 1979.