Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder has praised Everton loanee Kieran Dowell ahead of the Steel City Derby.
Dowell is in line to start against Sheffield Wednesday after scoring his first goal for the club. The midfielder headed in the winner as the Blades won 1-0 at West Bromwich Albion.
Dowell joined United on loan in January but Wilder had his eye on the 21-year-old for much longer. In fact, the Blades boss has revealed the exact moment.
“He has obviously scored for (Nottingham) Forest last year and that caught our attention with what he did,” Wilder told the Sheffield Star.
“He scored against us and we tried to get him in the summer when we lost David Brooks (to Bournemouth).”
Dowell was on loan at Nottingham Forest last season, scoring 10 times in 43 appearances. That included netting the winning goal for the Reds in a 2-1 victory over United.
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As Wilder says, he was keen on signing Dowell following the £11.5m (Sky Sports) transfer of David Brooks to Bournemouth.
However, newly appointed Toffees manager, Marco Silva, had first team plans for the England Under-21 international.
It wasn’t until November, when Dowell’s only senior appearances had been in the Carabao Cup, that Silva reconsidered.
“I told you in pre-season that Kieran impressed myself, he did a really good pre-season,” the Everton chief told the Liverpool Echo.
“We believe in him, we renewed his contract and he has really good quality.
“When the moment arrives I will sit with the player, I will talk with him but you never know what will happen between now and January.”
The Blades instead turned their attention to Ben Woodburn, signing the youngster on loan from Liverpool for the season.
Yet Woodburn managed just eight appearances before having his stay cut short in January when it became apparent Dowell was available.