Sheffield United midfielder Oliver Norwood is getting ready to face hometown club Burnley this weekend.
Aged 28, Norwood is finally proving himself in the Premier League after earning promotion there with the Blades. Yet the former Northern Ireland international probably didn’t think it would take this long to come.
Born in Burnley, Norwood joined the Manchester United academy. After several loan spells away from Old Trafford, he finally left permanently for Huddersfield Town in 2012 having failed to make a first team appearance.
Norwood quickly carved out a reputation for himself in the Championship with Huddersfield and then Reading, before joining Brighton and Hove Albion in 2016.
That first season the Northern Irishman helped Brighton to promotion to the top flight. But Norwood didn’t get his chance, loaned to Fulham the following campaign and repeating the feat.
Again, despite playing a key role in getting a team there, he once again failed to play in the big time.
Another loan followed, this time at Bramall Lane before the Blades made it permanent in the January. When promotion to the Premier League came for a third successive year, Norwood finally got his opportunity.
Oliver Norwood impresses for Sheffield United
Norwood has started all ten of the Blades’ league matches so far in 2019/20. Not only that, but with Billy Sharp often on the bench the midfield ace has been handed the captain’s armband for the majority of those games.
Ahead of facing the Clarets, manager Chris Wilder has praised the impact Norwood has had in south Yorkshire.
“He’s been great for us since he came to the football club. His record getting out of the Championship was there for everyone to see,” Wilder told BBC Radio Sheffield.
“Great background at Manchester United and like a lot of players do, had to go from Manchester United and carve a career out. Over 50 international caps, promotions on his CV.
“He’s been a brilliant addition to the squad that I’ve assembled.”