The Sheffield United player Paul Heckingbottom says he loves watching

Ben Osborn embodied the qualities Sheffield United must demonstrate in order to leave the Premier League with the heads held high during the victory over Brighton and Hove Albion, caretaker manager Paul Heckingbottom has insisted.

Sunday, 25th April 2021, 5:00 pm

Previously of Nottingham Forest, Osborn has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of Heckingbottom’s appointment following Chris Wilder’s departure last month - featuring regularly in the 43-year-old’s starting elevens including the one which beat Graham Potter’s side.

Although United surrendered their top-flight status when they were beaten by Wolverhampton Wanderers earlier this month, Heckingbottom has warned it is vital United rediscover the winning habit in order to give themselves the best possible chance of returning at the first attempt.

Osbor’s versatility, the former Hibernian chief predicted, can make him an important figure for whoever takes charge later this summer.

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Ben Osborn of Sheffield Utd during the Premier League match at Bramall Lane, Sheffield. Picture credit should read: Simon Bellis / Sportimage

“Ben has got quality in his game,” Heckingbottom said. “But he’s got real personality too and that’s one of the reasons why I enjoy watching him.

“He can play in a number of different positions and he can play them well. That adaptability is really important. But so is the heart he shows whenever he goes out onto the pitch.”

Despite being signed as a midfielder, Osborn has frequently been deployed at wing-back by both Wilder and Heckingbottom, but featured in his preferred central position against the visitors from Sussex.

David McGoldrick scored the only goal of the contest midway through the first half, with Osborn’s cross setting in motion the chain of events which saw the centre-forward turn the ball home beyond Robert Sanchez.

“I was really pleased with the performance out there, because we showed lots of different aspects, all of the players did,” Heckingbottom said. “We haven’t been clinical at times in the past but we took a big chance when it came our way when we were creating and then defended with real heart.

"That showed that the boys care, and it has shown that despite the situation they are in, knowing that their fate is sealed, they are still fighting. They are fighting for themselves, the football club and also the fans.”