Since leaving Liverpool in 2020, Rhian Brewster has not enjoyed a smooth ride. Now, the young striker has suffered another setback with a season-ending hamstring injury.
When Brewster gambled on himself and pushed for a move to Sheffield United that could be worth up to £23.5 million, it came as a surprise to many.
The youngster was on the brink of a first-team push at Liverpool, and looked primed for regular minutes under Jurgen Klopp as the title defence began.
Instead, Brewster sought life as a first-choice starter, and given the Blades’ outlay, that seemed likely at Bramall Lane – only, a struggle to settle paired with United’s relegation form saw him drop down the pecking order.
Sheffield United finished 20th in the Premier League, with Brewster failing to register a single goal, and this time around a lack of consistency in the dugout – with Chris Wilder being followed by Slavisa Jokanovic and now Paul Heckingbottom – has not helped matters.
Brewster did score his first goal for the club in August and then his first Championship goal in November, with his tally now standing at four goals in 46 games, according to Flashscore.
He is not expected to add to his four in 16 outings this season, though, with Heckingbottom revealing that his striker is expected to miss the rest of the season.
After suffering a hamstring injury in the 2-0 win over Luton on January 22, Brewster is due to undergo surgery that will almost certainly end his campaign early.
“Rhian’s having an operation tomorrow,” Heckingbottom told reporters on Monday.
“So that’s going to rule him out probably for the season. If he’s back before, it will be a bonus, but we’re not counting on that now, we’re just going to help him through it.
The manager added: “He’s got his head around it, he’s going to work his socks off to get back and come back fitter and stronger – just like he did last time.
“I think everyone could see he was in a good place when he came back after the last injury, he fought back, working hard, fitness levels were higher, and we’ll want the same for him again when he comes back next time.”
It is not the first major injury of Brewster’s career, having missed 14 months with ankle ligament damage while at Liverpool.
He is still only 21, though, and already has 72 games of senior football under his belt despite his setbacks, with Heckingbottom right to back him to come back stronger in the summer.
By that point, Liverpool’s buy-back clause – which is believed to stand at £40 million – will have one year left before it expires, with it increasingly unlikely to be triggered.