Chris Wilder has spoken publicly about the future of Ben Woodburn at Sheffield United.
Woodburn is on a season long loan from Liverpool but has struggled to make the desired impact at Bramall Lane. The 19-year-old has played just eight times in total and only once since September 19.
Wilder hasn’t ruled out Woodburn staying with the Blades until May, but has admitted discussions will take place with Liverpool.
“The loan hasn’t gone as well as Ben and us would have liked, for various reasons – including the form of Mark Duffy, who’s probably in the best form of his career, and the team as a whole,” the United manager told the Sheffield Star.
“It’s Ben’s first loan out, too, so there are a lot of things to factor in. There’ll be a discussion between us and Liverpool about the best thing for Ben, whether he stays here or not, but there’s still six months to go and he’s still with us. So we’ll see where we are in January.
“Will he play a part for us between now and January? Who knows. Different things can always happen. Does Duff get injured or do we change it up, or does Ben get an opportunity and grab it with both hands? We’re hoping that’s what happens.”
Woodburn staying or going?
Wilder is right that the impressive form of Duffy has been keeping Woodburn out of the team. However, when injured for two matches recently the youngster didn’t replace him.
That suggests that Wilder does not yet fully trust Woodburn in the number ten role. If the Blades are serious about a promotion push this term then they need adequate competition for Duffy.
Therefore, while it is a tough call to make, sending Woodburn back to Anfield and finding a more viable alternative is surely the best thing Wilder can do in January?