Cardiff City v Sheffield United: Rhian Brewster’s faith rewarded at Bramall Lane

IN tough times, Rhian Brewster’s faith has been important to him.

The Sheffield United forward, a practicing Muslim, is one of the most genuine young footballers you could possibly wish to meet.

An unassuming, normal lad refreshingly devoid of ego and far removed from the stereotypical – and sometimes unfair – image of modern-day players striving to make a name for themselves.

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There was a fair bit of expectation placed on the shoulders of Brewster when he joined United at the age of just 20 for a club record fee of £23.5m from Liverpool last October.

Sheffield United’s record signing Rhian Brewster celebrates  scoring against Bristol City at Bramall Lane last month. Picture: Simon Bellis/SportimageSheffield United’s record signing Rhian Brewster celebrates  scoring against Bristol City at Bramall Lane last month. Picture: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
Sheffield United’s record signing Rhian Brewster celebrates scoring against Bristol City at Bramall Lane last month. Picture: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Things have not gone well for him since on the pitch, but there are signs that things may – just may – be changing.

His fine goal in the Blades’ 2-0 win over Bristol City to kick-start the Paul Heckingbottom era was his second in three games. It was also his first league strike at Bramall Lane in 19 matches.

Everyone connected with the club who know him will have shared in that moment. More especially given what he has been through since arriving.

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On the importance of his faith amid dark times, Brewster, speaking ahead of today’s game at Cardiff, said: “You are always looking for help and signs. And praying every day, you hope it helps you and it switches and your life changes from being in a bad place to a good place like you have been before.

“It (faith) helps a lot,” he said. “You have to keep believing in yourself and block out what some people say.

“You miss an opportunity, but you go again. You turn to your faith more when things are not going right.

“But when things are going well, you need to keep doing the same thing.”

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Alongside his religious faith, Brewster has also been supported along the way by the good professionals in the Blades dressing room.

Famous names at former clubs Liverpool and Chelsea – where he spent a spell in their academy – have also made an impact upon the Londoner.

“Being at the clubs when I was younger and seeing all that talent and looking through the fence at Chelsea – as we weren’t really allowed to watch – and at Liverpool has helped a lot,” he continued.

“You learn so much from them, not just about football, but even as people.

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“They’re just so down to earth. (But) Of course, everyone sees them and says: ‘Oh my God.’

“Didier Drogba, Mo Salah and Sadio Mane are professional footballers, but you just see them every day as normal people who do normal stuff every day.

“I have been spoilt at Chelsea and Liverpool, seeing those players as I have grown up.

“You see them working so hard in training, they are never not training at 110 per cent.

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“When things are going badly, it is about believing in yourself and being confident in what you do as you are there for a reason,” added Brewster.

“When we played Liverpool, moreso away (last season), they (players) just spoke to me and said: ‘You are a great striker and finisher, just keep going no matter what.’

The support of Unitedites amid his fraught first year has also been appreciated and one Bramall Lane moment in the final game of last season sticks out in particular.

He commented: “In the back end of last year, we played Burnley at home and I came on and pressed the centre-back and won the ball.

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“It was a slide tackle or something and the crowd started cheering and chanting and that is when I realised that they still had a lot of faith in me.”

His time in Sheffield may not have panned out in the way he has hoped thus far, but Brewster is not one to feel sorry for himself either.

It is another of his endearing qualities.

He has found himself out of the side for spells this season as he did in the last one and it has prompted speculation about his future.

Some in his shoes may have even pushed for a move, but he has admirably kept his head down.

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Doing the hard yards at Shirecliffe before heading home and leading the sort of life that countless young people do.

Brewster added: “There are always going to be people talking out there, but for me it is concentrating on getting back in the team and playing.

“You hear rumours and people talking, but I switch it out. I just go home and play on my PlayStation like a regular kid and don’t try and worry about what everyone is talking about.”

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