Ben Osborn delivered his second excellent performance in a matter of days last night as United saw off Reading in the FA Cup.
Osborn was given the nod with Enda Stevens still sidelined with a knock. Stevens, who has become integral to United over the last few seasons, will be hoping to return to the fold when Norwich visit Bramall Lane on Saturday.
But if Stevens isn’t quite ready, then Osborn showed last night that there is little to worry about for Blades fans or Chris Wilder.
Indeed, the former Nottingham Forest man got himself an assist. His perfectly flighted cross allowing David McGoldrick to ghost in for his first goal of the season.
There was much more to Osborn’s game, too. His energy, desire to keep going, and seemingly smooth transition into a wing-back role showed just why Chris Wilder brought him in during the summer.
It was, as they say, a player really putting a marker down in terms of giving the manager a selection headache.
Proving his worth
Much like when he came on against Brighton last weekend, Osborn showed he is more than capable of stepping in for Enda Stevens if needs be.
Aside from the assist for McGoldrick, he put in a number of fine crosses throughout the evening. He linked well with Jack O’Connell at times and also showed a good relationship with the equally impressive, Luke Freeman.
Furthermore, Osborn showed his worth to the team in extra time. With Jack Robinson brought into the fold, Osborn moved into a more central midfield role. That role, of course, is what he is accustomed to playing from his time with Forest.
And it’s that sort of versatility which makes him so important. Osborn admitted he’d not quite played as much as he’d have liked so far.
But with performances like last night, it’s going to be hard for Chris Wilder to leave him out going forward.