Sheffield United midfielder, Sander Berge, delivered his best performance in a Blades shirt last night as Chris Wilder’s men saw off Tottenham at Bramall Lane.
The Norwegian, who stepped in for John Lundstram, delivered a performance full of energy, strength and, crucially, composure. It was, then, just what the doctor ordered when it came to the 22-year-old giant.
Having played just a handful of games for the Blades prior to lockdown, Berge looked short on confidence, match fitness, and sharpness when ‘Project Restart’ kicked off against Aston Villa.
Some Blades fans – including your writer here – pointed out that they expected more from Berge. This was not a dig directly at the player’s talent as such. More so, it was a slight worry that some of the basics of the game seemed to be alluding him. Losing possession, being overrun in midfield, and lacking understanding with the likes of Baldock and Basham, Berge was bound to be under scrutiny.
Of course, it’s natural. As Blades fans, this spending over £20m on one player lark is brand new to us. With that, comes expectation, whether it is realistic or not. Sander Berge was correctly questioned about his early performances. And there is nothing wrong with fans doing that.
However, he has answered in the best way possible in the last five days and has done so emphatically.
A sign of things to come, Berge looked at home against Spurs
What we saw against Jose Mourinho’s men last night was a player who is clearly growing in confidence, stature, and awareness of what is needed in the Premier League.
His goal, the obvious highlight, was superbly taken. The quality and the first touch of a man who has played at the highest level and, ultimately, what £20m and up should buy you.
Likewise, his composure to shrug off Spurs players and lay one on a plate for Oli McBurnie. A brilliant piece of play made to look simple by someone who was in full control of his game.
Chris Wilder has already said this week we’ll see Berge sitting deeper as his Blades career progresses. But if last night is a hint of what he brings in an attacking sense, then United will have some player on their hands.
There’s nothing wrong with critiquing a player for not been on his game. Similarly, you have to praise a player when they are looking excellent. And that is the case here with Sander Berge.
Hopefully, there is more to come from the Norwegian between now and the end of the campaign.