Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder has defended young duo Rhian Brewster and Aaron Ramsdale.
The England Under-21 internationals both arrived at Bramall Lane ahead of this season in big money moves for the club.
Yet they have also received criticism since making the switch to South Yorkshire.
Ramsdale is yet to keep a clean sheet as the Blades sit bottom of the Premier League table with just one point after nine games.
Brewster has also failed to score in five appearances for United since becoming their record signing.
“There was judgement on Sander (Berge) straight away when he came in,” Wilder told The Sheffield Star. “It happened straight away and we are having the same thing now, with Aaron and Rhian.
“If anyone is questioning those two, they should look at what’s happened to Sander. There were questions early on, that he wouldn’t cut it. Look at him now. Look at how well he’s doing. So we really need to give these lads a bit of time to settle and bed in.
“If you look at the fees, £20m isn’t a big number for a young Premier League player anymore. It might feel like that here, because we’ve not been in that market for a long time. But it really isn’t.
“These are two lads, two really talented young lads, who will do great for us over a number of seasons. People just have to be realistic and not jump to conclusions, that’s all.”
Brewster and Ramsdale deserve time at Sheffield United
Both players already have a lot of pressure on their shoulders. Partly because of the fees paid for them, but also because of what is – perhaps unfairly – expected of them.
Former academy product Ramsdale returned to Bramall Lane in an £18.5m deal, after it became apparent Dean Henderson wouldn’t be returning on loan from Manchester United.
Henderson had played a key role in the Blades’ success over the previous two years. The 23-year-old kept 35 clean sheets during that time, helping Wilder’s side to promotion from the Championship and a ninth place finish in their first top flight campaign in 12 years.
Ramsdale isn’t at the same level as Henderson – who recently earned his first senior cap for England – but that doesn’t make him a bad goalkeeper.
He has made mistakes this term, but overall has been solid enough. Comparisons with Henderson are inevitable, but unfair.
As for Brewster, he had never even played in the Premier League before this campaign.
Expectations come with a club record £23m fee, but at 20-years-old the striker is still developing.
Brewster is also trying to score in a side who have only hit the back of the net four times in 2020/21 – a joint low for the division. Just one of those has come in open play as well.
Wilder is right about Berge – and others
Wilder uses Berge as an example in his argument, but the Norwegian isn’t the only one.
The 22-year-old admitted he struggled to initially adapt after making a then record £22m switch to Bramall Lane from Genk in January.
Yet Berge has worked hard since to change from a defensive midfielder into more of a box-to-box option. And has probably been United’s best player this term.
But Berge benefitted from joining a side already riding high when he arrived. With the Blades impressing in the Premier League, there was less of a spotlight on the Norway international’s teething problems.
Berge also isn’t the only player under Wilder who was perhaps judged unfairly.
The likes of Leon Clarke, Paul Coutts and even John Lundstram defied – and then exceeded – many expectations after flourishing at different points during the 53-year-old’s time in charge.
Brewster and Ramsdale now deserve to be given the same opportunity.