Could Ben Woodburn have played his last match for Sheffield United?
Woodburn returned to parent club Liverpool on December 17 to receive treatment on his ankle injury. Yet even before that there were doubts about the loanee’s future at Bramall Lane.
Woodburn joined the Blades on a season long loan in August, but has made just eight appearances since. The 19-year-old hasn’t played at all since November 3 and only twice since August 25.
Despite arriving from Anfield with great promise things have not worked out for Woodburn at United.
“The loan hasn’t gone as well as Ben and us would have liked, for various reasons,” Chris Wilder told the Sheffield Star back in November.
“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.”
Competition for Woodburn
The other reason the Reds youngster’s time with the Blades may be up is the confirmation that Kieran Dowell is joining the club.
Dowell will arrive in South Yorkshire on a six month loan from Everton on January 1. The England Under-21 international plays, like Woodburn, as an attacking midfielder.
In Wilder’s 3-4-1-2 formation there is only room for one player in attacking midfield. Currently that number ten role is generally occupied by Mark Duffy. Woodburn was meant to provide competition to Duffy, but having three specialist options for the position is probably unnecessary.
With the teenager already back at Melwood and Dowell on his way to Sheffield it is not too much of a stretch to come to this conclusion.
Now Wilder will be working hard to bring in the loan striker and possibly one other loanee to complete his squad.