Liverpool youngster Ben Woodburn was at a “real low” after his loan spell at Sheffield United.
That is according to Oxford United manager Karl Robinson, who signed Woodburn on a temporary contract himself this summer.
The 20-year-old joined the Blades on a one-year deal in the summer of 2018. Yet it was cut short in January after Woodburn had played just eight times.
Kieran Dowell was signed from Everton as a replacement and helped Chris Wilder’s side gain promotion from the Championship.
For Woodburn it never worked out at Bramall Lane and Robinson explains why.
“He came to us on a real low this summer, after a difficult loan last year,” the U’s boss told the Liverpool Echo’s Blood Red podcast.
“I think that loan he went on was too soon. I think people forget how young he is. The Championship is so unforgiving it’s incredible.
“The style of play at that level is a little bit different to the Premier League, it’s more forceful in the way you get the ball through the thirds, certainly more aggressive out of possession.”
Where it went wrong for Liverpool starlet Ben Woodburn
Part of the problem for Woodburn was where he fitted into Wilder’s system. Recognised as a winger in his early days at Anfield, the Blades were playing a 3-4-1-2 formation.
The only natural fit for Woodburn was in the number ten role, where he was required to compete for a place with the vastly experienced Mark Duffy.
Only 18 at the time, it was his first move away from the Reds and it didn’t work out. Luckily for Woodburn he appears to turned that around after dropping into League One.
The forward has scored once and provided five assists in 13 matches in all competitions this season. Ironically, that has largely come from an attacking midfield position.