Teenager Daniel Jebbison said it felt “amazing” to score on his first Premier League start as he gave Sheffield United a victory that dented Everton’s hopes of qualifying for Europe.
“I feel amazing, I’m thankful for the opportunity that’s been given to me by the club,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live. “Every single one of those players out there, we fought today and showed excellent character.
“The experience was brilliant. I wish the fans were here because I know the Sheffield United fans are crazy and I love it.
“I’m buzzing and can’t wait to get back to training, get better every single day and show it out on the pitch on the weekend.”
Jebbison could have doubled his tally when he seized on a short backpass by Mason Holgate, but saw his effort saved by Jordan Pickford.
At the other end, Aaron Ramsdale pulled off a stunning double save from Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin to preserve Sheffield United’s lead.
Ramsdale was then alert to deny Richarlison again in the second half as the relegated Blades held on for just their second away Premier League away win of the season.
For Everton, a ninth home league defeat of the campaign means they stay eighth and miss the chance to draw level on points with Tottenham and West Ham in the race for European football.
Jebbison offers hope for bright Blades future
The last senior game Jebbison started was for Chorley against Chester in the National League North in December. But despite jumping up six divisions, he did not look out of place here.
He was central to a battling Blades performance that belied their position at the bottom of the table and offered the supporters hope for next season after a troubled campaign.
The Canada-born forward, who represents England at youth level, showed great awareness to peel away from his marker and score in the seventh minute after Robinson had drilled the ball across the six-yard box.
Buoyed by that good start, Sheffield United continued to press Everton high up the pitch and create chances.
John Fleck had a powerful drive punched away by Pickford before the England goalkeeper stood up tall to deny Jebbison after he had pounced on Holgate’s short backpass.
They were equally impressive at the other end, with John Egan typifying their resolute approach with a wonderful slide tackle to deny Calvert-Lewin early in the second half.
When they did break through, Everton found goalkeeper Ramsdale in inspired form.
The England Under-21 international did well to palm away Allan’s shot from the edge of the area before doing superbly to save from Richarlison’s diving header and then stood up quickly to block Calvert-Lewin on the rebound from point-blank range.
The headlines, though, will go to Jebbison. There has been speculation linking him with a move away this summer and this performance will have done little to quell the interest.
If he does remain at Bramall Lane, he could form a key component of the side next season as the Blades plot an immediate return to the Premier League.
Paul Heckingbottom, Sheffield United’s interim manager, thinks Jebbison is still learning his game, but has the right attitude to succeed.
“He’s nowhere near finished,” Heckingbottom said. “But he deserves his chance. He’s been put in on merit.
“The biggest reason he was in the team was his running power to stretch their team and be in between the posts when we put the ball in the box. The coaches have helped him develop in a short space of time.
“You can see the hard work and natural athleticism. He listens and learns. He performed his role excellently without the ball. He’s scored the goal. He’s certainly played his part with and without the ball.”
Everton’s home struggles continue
Everton moved up to second in the Premier League after their away win at Sheffield United on 26 December – one of 11 away victories for the Toffees this season, their most in a top-flight campaign since 1984-85, when they won the title.
However, their form on the road is in sharp contrast to their struggles at Goodison Park, which is one of the main reasons why they have not been able to sustain a top-four challenge and are instead struggling to secure a place in the top seven.
Fulham are the only team to have earned fewer than Everton’s six points at home in 2021 and Sunday’s result means they have now lost nine of their 18 home league games this season, their most defeats at Goodison since 1993-94, when they were almost relegated.
The Toffees welcomed back Colombian playmaker James Rodriguez after three games out with a calf injury and he showed glimpses of his class early on, seeing a shot deflected just over before providing the cross that drew a double save from Ramsdale.
However, Rodriguez faded after the break and with him went the bulk of Everton’s creativity.
With Rodriguez peripheral, the home side’s increasingly desperate approach was summed up by defender Ben Godfrey attempting a shot from 30 yards that flew well over the bar, prompting manager Carlo Ancelotti to shake his head in bemusement.
The Italian said Everton were “still in the fight” for Europe after the midweek draw at Aston Villa, but their chances of overhauling the sides above them now look slim.
They will likely need two wins from their remaining two matches to have a chance, one of which is a trip to champions Manchester City on the final day of the season.
‘Excellent from start to finish’ – what they said
Sheffield United interim manager Paul Heckingbottom to BBC Sport: “I thought we were excellent from start to finish. It makes a difference when you get the first goal. We didn’t create a hatful of chances but we created good ones. We were strong at the other end.
“It’s a great group of players to work with. The spirit and honesty has got them into the Premier League. A lot of circumstances conspired against us this season with fans and Covid and a hell of a lot of injuries.
“These boys have been fighting all season. You’ve still got to enjoy playing in this league [after relegation]. Next season is totally different. The boys will have a break, which they didn’t get this season.”
Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti to BBC Sport: “We played so bad. The only result that could be possible is a defeat. As we usually did at home most of the time, we lost. I have to take responsibly for this but I hope the players do too.
“We have two games to the end. We lost a great opportunity to have the chance to fight for Europe. We have to do our best to the end. The next one we will have fans and maybe they can help us wake up.
“It’s difficult to say [why Everton are better away]. When we tried to put quality and build from the back we have more difficulties. We are more comfortable when we play direct but that is not the best style of play.
“For next season, we are going to change. We have to analyse the season. Certain aspects are really good – away we did fantastic results, at home really bad. Double face.
“To be ready for Europe, you have to be in Europe. We have to try to win the two games and see if we are in Europe or not. If we are, we will build a squad to be in Europe. If we’re not, we’ll build a squad to be better in the Premier League.”
Blades ending losing run on the road – the stats
- Sheffield United picked up only a second win from their past 24 away league outings (D3 L19), and ended a run of seven straight Premier League defeats on the road since beating Manchester United 2-1 in January.
- Only Fulham (four) have earned fewer home points in the Premier League in 2021 so far than Everton’s tally of six (P11 W1 D3 L7), with the Toffees’ one win the joint-fewest on home soil in the competition this calendar year (level with Burnley and Fulham).
- Everton have lost nine Premier League matches at Goodison Park this season; it’s the joint-most they have ever lost at home in a league campaign, alongside 1912-13, 1947-48, 1950-51 and 1993-94.
- Sheffield United have won more Premier League away games at Everton (three) than they have at any other opponent in the competition.
- Everton have kept just two home clean sheets in the Premier League this season; only Newcastle United (one) have recorded fewer.
- Sheffield United’s Daniel Jebbison (17 years 309 days) became the youngest player to score on his first Premier League start, overtaking Danny Cadamarteri’s record, set for Everton against Barnsley in September 1997 (17y 343d), which was also scored at Goodison Park.
- Jebbison was also the youngest player to score a match-winning goal in a Premier League game since Federico Macheda for Manchester United against Sunderland in April 2009 (17y 232d).
- Aaron Ramsdale made six saves for Sheffield United, the most he’s ever made in a Premier League game in which he didn’t concede a goal, while six saves was the most he’s made in any league division while also keeping a clean sheet since March 2019 for AFC Wimbledon against Peterborough in League One (seven).
Everton take on Wolves in the Premier League at Goodison Park on Wednesday (18:00 BST), while Sheffield United visit Newcastle at the same time that evening.
- 4HolgateSubstituted forG Sigurdssonat 45′minutes
- 16DoucouréSubstituted forAndré Gomesat 78′minutes
- 19RodríguezBooked at 66minsSubstituted forBernardat 78′minutes
- 10G Sigurdsson
- 21André Gomes
- 31Neves Virgínia
- 6BashamBooked at 26mins
- 19RobinsonBooked at 90mins
- 2BaldockBooked at 81mins
- Jonathan Moss
Match ends, Everton 0, Sheffield United 1.