Sheffield United: The sign that Kyron Gordon could be set for more first team action
Kyron Gordon could become an increasingly important player for Sheffield United as they chase promotion back to the Premier League, after Paul Heckingbottom praised the teenager’s versatility.
Gordon, aged 19, made his league debut for United during last weekend’s visit to Millwall; emerging as perhaps the only positive from a game which saw Heckingbottom’s side suffer its first defeat in 10 Championship outings.
Heckingbottom demonstrated his confidence in Gordon’s ability by selecting him ahead of the more experienced Ben Davies, who despite being more effective on the left flank can also operate on the right.
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Tracing Gordon’s journey through United’s development programme and into the first team, he appeared to suggest the defender could be named in the starting eleven again when Nottingham Forest travel to Bramall Lane on Friday. With Steve Cooper’s men in ninth, only two points behind seventh-placed United, both that match and next week’s game against fellow top-flight hopefuls Middlesbrough will help shape the race for play-off qualification.
“Kyron, he’s played left centre-back when he’s had to for us in the cup and also as the middle centre-back,” Heckingbottom said. “Right is his position, which is why we went with him ahead of Ben who has got more experience but is left-footed. Ideally, although there are reasons why you might go the other way, we want something who is right footed on the right.
“Kyron has done well wherever he’s been asked to go in. He’s getting the opportunities because he has shown he is worthy of them.”
Despite the high-stakes, Heckingbottom is prepared to use more players from United’s academy should the need arise. Femi Seriki, recently recalled from a spell on loan with Beerschot, was in contention to face Blackburn Rovers last Wednesday if George Baldock had been forced to miss the game. Joe Starbuck, who enrolled on United’s development programme after leaving Grimsby Town, was named among their substitutes in south London.
“We want more academy players coming through,” Heckingbottom said. “But that doesn’t mean they get free passes. They have to show, day in and day out, that they are good enough and ready to be involved.”