Kean Bryan is enjoying an unexpected revival at Sheffield United this season.
Bryan arrived at Bramall Lane from Manchester City in the summer of 2018, but played just once that season as the Blades were promoted to the Premier League.
Three more appearances followed last term, all in cup competitions, before the defender was sent on loan to Bolton Wanderers in League One.
Bryan’s future at the South Yorkshire club looked in doubt as a second successive top flight campaign began.
Yet injuries in defence have presented the 24-year-old with unexpected opportunities. Bryan has already played more in 2020/21 than the previous two years combined, with six appearances in all competitions.
But his most recent is also the most memorable. Bryan scored the opener as the Blades won 2-1 at Manchester United.
His header helped secure only their second league victory this season.
However, what was almost as surprising as the result was the fact Bryan started the game at left wing-back.
Especially as Max Lowe was on the bench.
Why Kean Bryan start is bad news for Max Lowe at Sheffield United
With neither Enda Stevens or Ben Osborn available, manager Chris Wilder had a decision to make at wing-back.
Both have been absent before, forcing Wilder to field new signing Lowe in the role.
This didn’t work out, with the 23-year-old looking out of his depth during a string of defeats.
Instead, Wilder decided to turn to Bryan out of position at Old Trafford. The Blades boss did admit afterwards that Lowe wasn’t fully fit and would have struggled to play more than 10 to 15 minutes.
But even so, to name an inexperienced centre-back in the position ahead of Lowe shouldn’t fill the latter with confidence.
Especially when Bryan was brought off in the second half, Wilder them decided Jayden Bogle would replace him.
Bogle – who was signed alongside Lowe from Derby County in a double deal last summer – is generally considered to be right-sided. Yet once again, Wilder preferred to play someone out of position.
When Osborn and Stevens also return, it could be a long way back to the first team for Lowe.