It was the perfect weekend for Sheffield United and their new manager Paul Heckingbottom, who saw goals from Rhian Brewster and Billy Sharp prove enough to see off Bristol City.
Heckingbottom was straight into the firing line after taking over from Slavisa Jokanovic. The Serbian was surprisingly removed from his job at Bramall Lane, with Hecky now being appointed as ‘Football Manager’.
One of the questions from Sheffield United fans will be around if the club will see more young players get a chance under Heckingbottom. His work with the 23s has been outstanding, and with both he and Jack Lester now at first-team level, there is every chance players will get opportunities.
For one young player already in the first-team, Rhian Brewster, the appointment of Heckingbottom is a fresh start. And he took his first chance at the weekend, slamming home a fine finish from Enda Stevens’ pass.
However, there’s no time for Brewster to slow down. After the game, Heckingbottom admitted the youngster has a lot of work ahead.
Brewster has now scored two in his last three starts. His encouraging performance at Reading deserved more, and he is now starting to look a player in red and white.
But Heckingbottom, speaking after the win over Bristol, warned that Brewster is set to tested by he and his coaching team.
“We’re pleased for him. Captained his country at 21s level when he was away. I think I spoke about Rhian a lot last season. Everyone’s desperate for him to succeed,” the United boss commented.
“He’s going to be pushed. I think he knows he’s going to be pushed and we’ll see how he responds. Rhian’s at the start of his career. You look at Sharpy, there’s a lot Rhian can take from him.”
Brewster will now be hoping for more chances under Heckingbottom. And he’ll need to stay in for, with a number of good strikers breathing down his neck.
Our View: Rhian Brewster form a huge bonus for United
There were small signs under Jokanovic but this playing Brewster out on the right and left was bizarre. Now he’s down the middle, he is starting to look like the player we want him to be.
Of course, let’s not be getting carried away. It’s a handful of goals and good performances in an otherwise miserable year and a bit. However, the signs are there with young Rhian.
His form comes at a time when the Blades needed it. Too often, the club has relied on Billy Sharp. Now, if Brewster can keep this form up, the goals might start to fly in more often. And that can only be good news for the Blades and Paul Heckingbottom.