Sheffield United's Ben Osborn reveals chats with boss over change of role after "hindrance" admission

Ben Osborn has revealed the conversations he had with Sheffield United manager Slavisa Jokanović which sparked his change in position this season.

Monday, 15th November 2021, 5:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 16th November 2021, 2:54 pm

Osborn had been utilised as something of a utility man during his first two seasons at Bramall Lane, operating as an auxiliary wing-back and midfielder after making the move from Nottingham Forest.

But under Slavisa Jokanović, Osborn has been deployed further forward on the left of a three-man attack behind a lone central striker and three goals and three assists ranks him third for productivity in a Blades side that has struggled to consistently hit top gear under the Serb.

Osborn has been a beneficiary of United’s failure to sign any of the wide targets Jokanović and his recruitment team had identified in the last transfer window, and is likely to make his latest appearance in Blades colours this weekend when Coventry City visit Bramall Lane.

Detailing the early conversations he had with Jokanović when he officially succeeded Chris Wilder at the helm earlier this summer, Osborn told The Star: “He had seen towards the back end of the Premier League season under Paul Heckingbottom, when I played behind the striker or to the left or the right, and played some of my best football.

“I said to him that there are other players that I thought are better in other positions and if he wanted me to help the team more, I thought it’d be better to play a bit further forward.

“I was honest with him, I think he agreed and trusted me with it. Thankfully I’ve put in some alright performances since he’s played me higher up the pitch.”

Osborn admitted that his versatility had become a “bit of a hindrance”.

Sheffield United midfielder Ben Osborn has been utilised in a more advanced role this season: Simon Bellis / Sportimage

“When you’re younger it’s fine, because you’re happy to play anywhere and help the team,” he admitted.

“But as I’ve got older, I’d play well in one position and the next week I’d be playing somewhere totally difference. So I never know what to work on to improve myself.

“It was hard and still is. I’m still happy to do a job anywhere but if people want to get the best out of me, then I had to let my stance be known.”