The moment exciting Sheffield United starlet proved that the team really does come first

As a young man who grew up watching Sheffield United from the Bramall Lane stands, it would have been a moment Kyron Gordon dreamed about for years.
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Making his Championship debut at Bramall Lane against Barnsley on Saturday, Gordon found himself unmarked, three yards out, in front of the Kop. Conor Hourihane’s cross was arrowing towards him and the headlines were already being written.

It is a measure of his maturity and football intelligence, then, that the 19-year-old – making only the fifth Championship appearance of his career – had the presence of mind to know that he may be offside and that Sander Berge was beside him.

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“It’s definitely Sander’s goal; I’m not going to take credit,” Gordon smiled after the game.

“I wanted my first goal, of course, but I think I was a bit in front of him. So I thought: ‘If I touch this, I might be offside’. So I left it to him.

“He’s a great player as well and the goal lifted everyone including the crowd. We could have won by three or four in the end.”

In the moment, with friends and family watching on and his personal history and connection with the stadium and the club, it would have been understandable if Gordon smashed the ball home and then dealt with whatever came after.

Kyron Gordon is hugged by Paul Heckingbottom after Sheffield United's victory over Barnsley at Bramall Lane: Andrew Yates / SportimageKyron Gordon is hugged by Paul Heckingbottom after Sheffield United's victory over Barnsley at Bramall Lane: Andrew Yates / Sportimage
Kyron Gordon is hugged by Paul Heckingbottom after Sheffield United's victory over Barnsley at Bramall Lane: Andrew Yates / Sportimage
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But the team’s needs came first, in the young man’s most assured performance yet since being thrust into Championship action when his loan at National League North side Boston United was cut short around the turn of the year.

Gordon’s chance has come almost by default, with the entire right side of United’s defence being decimated by injuries, but he has performed admirably in the face of some tough challenges.

After making his competitive bow for the Blades in the FA Cup against Wolves, first marking £35m man Fabio Silva and then having to deal with the deadly Raul Jiminez, Gordon’s league debut came at The Den, against an imposing Millwall side.

Kyron Gordon of Sheffield United: Andrew Yates /SportimageKyron Gordon of Sheffield United: Andrew Yates /Sportimage
Kyron Gordon of Sheffield United: Andrew Yates /Sportimage

A tough afternoon at Coventry City aside – when he was far from the only Blades player to struggle – Gordon has shown he has a wise head on young shoulders, to cope admirably in potentially-tough circumstances.

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Not that that came as a surprise to Blades boss Paul Heckingbottom, who worked closely with Gordon during his time as United’s U23s boss before being promoted last year.

“I know Kyron and he's got a lot of development to do,” Heckingbottom said.

“He's not the finished player but probably his biggest quality is that he knows the game. Tactically he knows the game, and I want him to play like a first-team player.

Kyron Gordon of Sheffield United: Simon Bellis / SportimageKyron Gordon of Sheffield United: Simon Bellis / Sportimage
Kyron Gordon of Sheffield United: Simon Bellis / Sportimage

“It's difficult, when you're asking young boys to come and organise and talk. But he does know the game, and the information he would give would be correct or good information.

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“So as he's finding his feet and feeling more comfortable, you're seeing that in his performances.”

Gordon, like many of his teammates, is now enjoying some much needed rest and relaxation over the international break before another punishing run of fixtures which will define the course of their season.

“We’ve got great characters,” he added, “and a mix of experienced and young players who will give everything for the club.”