Chris Wilder has hinted which Sheffield United new signings could feature against Aston Villa on Monday.
The Blades manager handed debuts to five new additions in the Carabao Cup penalty shootout defeat to Burnley.
Wes Foderingham started in goal, while Ethan Ampadu was given a place in defence. Oli Burke was also included upfront.
Yet it was the new wing-backs – Jayden Bogle and Max Lowe – that seemed to particularly catch Wilder’s eye.
When asked if anyone had played their way into the team for Villa, the 52-year-old told BBC Radio Sheffield: “I think the two young boys were outstanding, the athleticism, the play, they kept the ball.”
Wilder added: “I thought the two full-backs gave us exactly what we were looking for – enthusiasm, talent, drive.”
Will the new signings start against Aston Villa?
It would probably be a surprise if either George Baldock or Enda Stevens are dropped for the Premier League trip to Villa Park.
However, both Bogle and Lowe have clearly given Wilder something to think about as the season progresses.
Baldock and Stevens both started every league game in 2019/20. On the right, Kieron Freeman did not even feature in the top flight until after lockdown and has since been released.
Stevens had some injury trouble prior to football’s suspension last term, with Ben Osborn a solid alternative when called upon. Yet now there is genuine competition in the wing-back roles.
Which is exactly why Bogle and Lowe were brought in from Derby County this summer. Wilder knows he can’t continue to rely on both Baldock and Stevens being fit for all 38 fixtures.
After the loss to the Clarets, Lowe – who impressed on the left – spoke about getting more opportunities moving forwards.
“Every one of us wants to play and be in the starting XI,” the 23-year-old told BBC Radio Sheffield. “I think for the team it’s good because it’s healthy competition.
“The squad is really strong this year and the lads have said that themselves since we’ve come in.
“It keeps everyone on their toes and I think that’s the best way to go forwards.”