The Welsh wing-back has been one of the standout performers for United this season. Either at left centre-back or playing at wing-back, Norrington-Davies has been a 7/10 or more every week.
But after injuring his hamstring, the initial assumption is that he’ll be out until the World Cup. Sadly for Norrington-Davies, there is a chance he himself misses Qatar. A devastating blow for a player who has played himself well into starting XI.
Closer to home, though, it’s Sheffield United who have the immediate worry. With Max Lowe also out and Enda Stevens not quite back, Paul Heckingbottom faces a big call in what he does on that left-hand side.
Here, we’ve had a look at the options available to Heckingbottom, with just six games to go until the World Cup.
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Change Of Shape
The obvious thing to do here is work on a change of shape or formation. With Jack Robinson returning and Enda Stevens also not far away, one of those two could slot in at left-back.
In the middle, Egan and Ahmedhodzic would be solid enough and Baldock is more than capable as a regular right-back, given his attacking output this season has been pretty poor.
That would allow a midfield three or two and a ten, giving Heckingbottom the chance to give someone like Reda Khadra a chance in the position he shone for at Blackburn Rovers.
Patch It Up With Ben Osborn
At the end of the day, Ben Osborn is in the squad to fill in across a number of positions. He did so last night and looked better at wing-back than he did in midfield. That was an odd call from Heckingbottom, given we’ve rarely seen Ozzie in the middle since he signed.
The issue with Osborn at wing-back is other teams target him. Not only as it’s not his natural position, but any right-sided player who is half-decent in the air knows they can get the better of him. See Blackpool.
This is Heckingbottom’s most likely go-to in the current situation.
If Heckingbottom is intent on sticking with 5-3-2 then he might be inclined to stick George Baldock on the left and look at another option on the right.
We’ve already seen him stick Reda Khadra there and in home games where teams sit back, the German might be an option down that side if he’s encouraged to go forward as often as possible. Chris Basham can also fill in there while Heckingbottom has given Sai Sachdev a debut recently as well.
Andre Brooks – who is a left-footer – has also been in and around the squad this season. He could get a chance down the left if Hecky wants to maintain balance.