Watch Sheffield United duo combine for England winner as 'man in teen's body' continues to impress and defender battles back
Sheffield United starlet Oliver Arblaster’s rapid ascension continued this week with the winning goal for England U18s – assisted by a Bramall Lane teammate riding the ups and downs of a remarkable journey of his own.
Arblaster, a highly-rated teenage midfielder who United boss Paul Heckingbottom has previously highlighted as a future first-team star, came off the bench to net the winner as Ryan Garry’s side beat Austria 3-2.
To make the moment more special, the assist came from another young Bladesman in Finley Potter – who is described as a “no-nonsense centre back” by United and battled back from 18 months out injured to return in February and help the Blades’ U18s win their league title.
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“Such a proud moment to represent my country and make my international debut against Austria, topped off with an assist,” Potter tweeted.
“Thankful of the support from my family. The hard work doesn’t stop!”
Arblaster wrote on his own Twitter profile: “First international goal and the match winner … it just doesn’t get much better than that, wow!”
United’s coaching staff are privately excited about the development potential of Arblaster, who is described as a man in a boy’s body. Still to make a debut for United’s senior squad, he has featured in a few squads and regularly trains with the Blades’ first team – alongside players like Billy Sharp, who Arblaster was pictured high-fiving as a ball boy in front of the Kop after a goal from the United skipper.
“I can definitely see him playing in Sheffield United’s first team,” Heckingbottom said earlier this season.
“He can handle the ball well; he reads situations and he’s got the brains of a man. But you’ve still got to remember, despite all of that, he’s still a boy.”
Arblaster was recently named scholar of the year at the Premier League awards and after spending time last season on loan at Bradford Park Avenue in National League North, may be sent out again to further accelerate his development.
Elsewhere, right-back Sai Sachdev and former Arsenal youngster Sydie Peck started for England’s U17s in a 3-0 win over Norway at the weekend.