WATCH: Ex-Sheffield United star Kevin Gage backs David Brooks for starting role up front against Derby County

David Brooks' performances from the bench have given Blades manager Chris Wilder plenty to think about
David Brooks' performances from the bench have given Blades manager Chris Wilder plenty to think about
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Sheffield United sensation David Brooks could get a place up front for the Blades on Saturday against Derby County, according to a former Bramall Lane star.

Speaking on Sheffield Live TV with our columnist Alan Biggs, Kevin Gage admitted that Brooks' superb displays from the bench for United have given boss Chris Wilder plenty of reason to pick the 20 year-old from the start.

And Gage believes that because of the red card picked up by Leon Clarke in last week's win over Barnsley, a forward role could be in the offing for the exciting young player.

"I think he should (play on Saturday) and I think he will, because we have got a suspension," said Gage. "Leon Clarke was sent off and there's a place up front. That's not a place I would chose to play him in an ideal world but I think on Saturday, because of the way the squad is and the suspensions are, I think that's the place he might get his debut."

He added: "Sometimes it just works out like that. Sometimes you throw the cards in the air and you find out how they fall and it just might be the break that he needs. In an ideal world I don't think Chris would be looking to play him from the start for a couple of months because it doesn't suit the way we play at the moment but it just might be that we have to play and it just might be the best thing that happens to him and to Sheffield United."

Gage was clearly impressed by Brooks' performances. "He's far from just a pacy forward," he went on. "He runs quicker with the ball than without it, which is quite weird, he has a marvelous way of dragging the ball past people, good close control."


Alan Biggs: Wonderkid David Brooks gives Sheffield United boss the kind of headache every manager loves

Having watched United up close this season, Gage admits that the forward line is an area where the Blades are lacking and he believes that Wilder will attempt to come up with more options up front before the transfer window closes next week.

Ched Evans and Caolan Lavery are on the fringes of the starting XI at present but neither have shown enough to suggest that they can secure a spot alongside Billy Sharp who has, at this stage, scored two goals so far in the Championship.

"There's not is there (enough up front), I think most people can see that and Chris can see that and he's alluded to it, even today he's talking about bringing some players in," Gage said. "Yes, we are a little bit light up front if that's one area we need to strengthen that's it. It's the complete opposite to maybe Sheffield Wednesday who seem a bit top heavy up front. We need to strengthen that area definitely."

"Everybody's expecting maybe too much of Ched, they are expecting him to be the player he was three or four years ago, it's going to take a long time," he added. "Now have we got that time to wait, can we wait that long for him to come good? I don't know.

"Lavery's been in and out of the team recently without nailing down a place and he hasn't shown enough to nail down a place this season, to be honest.

"He hasn't done enough - I don't see both of them (Lavery and Evans) being the strike partner for Billy, if Billy is assured of his place, which nobody is saying he is at the moment."