Former Sheffield United midfielder Michael Brown says Rhian Brewster needs to “work a bit harder”.
Brewster is yet to score his first goal for the Blades since a club record move from Liverpool last summer.
The striker had possibly his best opportunity yet to open his account at the weekend against Plymouth Argyle in the FA Cup fourth round.
The ball was cut back to Brewster in the second half, but the 20-year-old hit his shot straight at goalkeeper Michael Cooper.
United went onto win the tie 2-1 thanks to goals from Chris Basham and Billy Sharp.
Yet Brewster left the field frustrated after 79 minutes when he was substituted for David McGoldrick.
“I think he’s had lots of minutes, Brewster, and I think he needs to work a bit harder,” Brown told Football Insider.
“I think it’s obviously been difficult for him and the situation that he’s been put in, but he also has to look and say could he do a little bit more?
“So yes, difficult situation but on the other hand I think also has to (do more). I looked at his stats. I did it working with Amazon Prime, and we checked him again with BT when I was working for them. And the stats said his sprint distances were down so that’s something he has to learn.
“He needs a goal to get him some confidence.”
Why Brown on Sheffield United record signing is a bad take
Brown is correct in saying that Brewster has been given opportunities this season. Saturday’s appearance was his 16th of 2020/21 and seventh start.
However, claiming the forward should be running more is a fairly poor assessment by the 43-year-old.
Those who work hard are seemingly disproportionately praised and admired in English football.
The likes of Dirk Kuyt are cult heroes largely because of it. It therefore comes as no surprise that those deemed “lazy” are derided.
It’s why Dimitar Berbatov is criminally underrated in this country.
Do strikers really need to be running more to be effective? Does Brewster appear to lack work ethic?
For those of us who watch the Blades regularly, the answer to both questions is almost certainly no.
Performances from the England Under-21 international in recent weeks have been solid. The only thing missing is a goal.
Manager Chris Wilder says there will be “lively scenes” when it finally does happen as he defended Brewster again at the weekend.
The youngster is getting in the right areas and on the end of chances. Final product could maybe improve, but he definitely doesn’t need to “work harder”.
To suggest he does is the only lazy thing in this whole analysis.