SHEFFIELD UNITED loanee Ben Woodburn is in the squad to face Stoke City tomorrow night after Chris Wilder took the opportunity to send the loanee back to Liverpool for an outing with their Under-23s.
The highly-rated teenager moved to Bramall Lane during the summer but has found opportunities hard to come by.
Woodburn has made just one league start and last featured from the bench against Birmingham City on September 19.
With that lack of action in mind, the Wales international played just over an hour for the Anfield club’s Under-23s last Sunday before returning to south Yorkshire to join in with training earlier on Monday.
“Ben has been away with the national squad and didn’t get minutes there,” said Wilder, who welcomes back George Baldock from illness against Stoke tomorrow.
“We felt it important that he keeps playing football. He can do all running but there is nothing like game action. There was an opportunity to get him 65 minutes. We were keen and Liverpool were keen. Ben is back with us today.”
Woodburn’s capture in the summer seemed to be a major coup but his league outings stretch to just that one start against Norwich City in August and five cameos from the bench.
Asked about the teenager’s limited opportunities, Wilder replied: “The team is not doing too bad and I think (Mark) Duffy would be disappointed if he had played in four or five wins on the bounce and then got left out.
“Ben is not a special case at all, there are seven or eight players in the same boat. He is a talent and we understand that he is a good player.”
We felt it important that he keeps playing football. He can do all running but there is nothing like game action. There was an opportunity to get him 65 minutes.Chris Wilder