Former Sheffield United striker Carl Asaba expresses his belief that the Blades have demonstrated “good foresight” in their choices regarding attacking options. This praise comes after 20-year-old Will Osula lead the line in the FA Cup against Gillingham and found the net twice. And on another day, the young Dane could’ve had himself a first half hattrick.
That brace last weekend were the first goals of Osula’s campaign, so the fact that Chris Wilder trusted him highlights that Wilder doesn’t pay attention to the past – if you perform well in training and have the right attitude, you will get your chance in his team.
This theory was also suggested by former Blades striker Carl Asaba, who explained on BBC’s Blades Heaven Podcast.
“The manager doesn’t pick names from what they have done in the past, he picks on how they are performing in training. He [Osula] would have earned that chance from Monday to Friday. The manager is all about what you are providing – not what you’ve done in the past.”
Osula is one of Sheffield United’s hot prospects and despite only recently opening his goal account for the campaign, he has showcased his potential in a struggling team. The youngster has pace to burn, his physique is unique – long, slim and pacey.
Sheffield United fans have seen him do some good things this season, but they’ve also seen areas of his game that he needs to work on. Which is where having somebody like Jack Lester at the club can pay off.
Will Osula: Good Bits, Bad Bits
As mentioned above, Osula has that element of freakish physical characteristics about him. His size, speed and agility are arguably his greatest attributes at this moment. These things allow him to be a big threat in the channels.
In the image above you can see that Osula is offering himself to George Baldock to clip a pass into the channel. The youngster gets exactly what he asked for. Using his strength and his agility, the Dane successfully pins the Crystal Palace left-back and turns him effortlessly. On this occasion he was tripped, but the ref didn’t give a freekick.
Over the years the Blades had Billy Sharp to win them freekicks in the opposition half using similar methods. Showing for the ball with his back to goal, pinning the defender and drawing a foul. It’s good to see United’s youngsters picking up veteran moves like that.
One thing Osula can work on is his movement inside the penalty area. Okay, he followed in a shot against Gillingham to tap in after the goalkeeper spilled it. That’s great, and it shows he has natural poaching instincts. But I’m specifically talking about when the ball is out wide. What’s his movement like?
In the above image, the Blades work it brilliantly down the left, Ben Osborn is in behind their right-back. The two forwards are virtually stood on top of each other, so Osborn has to delay the cross by a second and then swing it in.
The issue here is Osula has left the crosser no option. nobody made the run to the near post, nobody ran to the centre and nobody drifted far. Osula stood stationery next to his marker. He didn’t even try to double move: fake a run to drag his marker and then create space for a pullback.
Will he lead the line in the Championship for Sheffield United?
With each passing month Will Osula is only going to get better, and Carl Asaba believes the club has identified Osula as potentially one of the main men up top next term if the Blades are in the Championship.
“Cameron under the change of manager has been outstanding. But the club have identified that if they do go down then Will Osula will want to lead the line and he should be in that position, as if we go down they have a clause that he [Archer] will be going back to Aston Villa.
“That then removes a player from the pecking order. It is really good foresight from the club.”