Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder has backed Rhian Brewster to come good as the wait for the club-record signing’s first goal continues.
The highly rated 20-year-old moved to Bramall Lane from Liverpool last summer in a deal worth £23.5million, agreeing a five-year deal.
But things have not gone to plan for the Blades or their most expensive player.
Wilder’s men are rock bottom of the Premier League and 12 points from safety, while Brewster’s wait for a first goal was extended to 20 appearances as United beat Bristol City 1-0 in the FA Cup fifth round on Wednesday night.
“I have said it all along, Rhian is a natural goalscorer whatever level, whether for Liverpool, England or on loan at Swansea,” said Wilder.
“Getting over the line and getting that first goal will be key for him and the longer it goes on the more difficult it becomes. He could do with one of those that drops to him, but he gets in good positions and he will be fine.
“It’s a cut-throat business that we are in and a business that everyone makes instant assumptions, opinions and deliveries on what people are about.
“It’s a tough period for him, but it won’t hurt him. He’s a tough cookie, an east London boy. He won’t be enjoying this because he wants to score goals and play well and win. He’ll come through it.
“It’s a tough learning curve. I feel for him because I know how much he wants to do well and how much he wanted to come and join us.
“He has not shied away from that, he has not sulked, he has got on with it. He has had to play against some tremendous opposition but he will learn from this experience and he’s going to be a good player for us I am sure.”
Billy Sharp’s 66th-minute penalty earned the Blades victory on Wednesday night as they reached the FA Cup quarter-finals for the second year running.
Wilder believes the 35-year-old club captain, who last month scored his 100th league goal for the Blades, will be offering Brewster plenty of advice and assistance as he looks to get off the mark.
“Billy will be the best person to talk to Rhian about it. Billy has scored goals right the way through his career,” said Wilder.
“He’ll be getting plenty of help from the skipper, as well as David McGoldrick and Oli Mac (Oliver McBurnie), that group and what they are about and what their qualities are as people and footballers. They will be trying to help him and drag him through.”
City boss Dean Holden was full of praise for Ryley Towler on his debut at Bramall Lane.
“Ryley deserves a big mention – an 18-year-old who’s come through our academy from the age of nine making his debut in a Premier League environment is a brilliant moment for him and his family,” said Holden.
“Gary Probert the academy manager was here to see that. I’m really pleased because that’s what this football club does – it gives opportunities to players like that who come through and deserve it.
“In terms of the performance, I thought Ryley Towler at left wing-back was outstanding on his debut.”