Striking lessons from Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and a place in the Premier League history books already assured… How Sheffield United’s Daniel Jebbison is thriving on loan at Burton Albion after his journey from Canada to the English game
- Daniel Jebbison won November’s Vertu Motors PFA Player of the Month award
- 18-year-old striker is on loan at League 1 Burton Albion from Sheffield United
- He has added to his game thanks to mentoring of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink
- Jebbison made history by scoring for the Blades against Everton last season
- Brought up in Canada, Jebbison represents England at youth international level
- He has scored eight goals this season as the Brewers aim for the Play-offs
It was all about the movement. Daniel Jebbison’s dart between the two blue-shirted defenders was timed with precision and wrote his name into the history books.
Just 17 years and 309 days, the striker became the youngest player to score on their first Premier League start when he settled Sheffield United’s contest with Everton in May last year.
The Blades may have been heading for relegation but it was certainly a moment Jebbison will never forget and for those watching unfamiliar with him a classic case of ‘remember the name.’
Daniel Jebbison receives the Vertu Motors PFA League One Player of the Month award from Burton Albion manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink
The Sheffield United loanee is profiting from his season with the League One outfit
While that breakthrough goal may have given the Sheffield United coaches food for thought, the plan always was to send the teenager out on loan for vital experience.
That’s how Jebbison ended up at League One side Burton Albion this season, having first signed a first professional contract at Bramall Lane, and he’s going from strength to strength.
Profiting from the striking knowhow of Brewers manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink – a prolific goalscorer in his time with Chelsea, Leeds, Middlesbrough and others – Jebbison’s game is coming on nicely.
Hasselbaink’s pride came across when presenting Jebbison with the Vertu Motors PFA League One Player of the Month award for November.
At only 17 years and 309 days, Jebbison scored for Sheffield United at Everton last season
The teenage striker stole in ahead of the Everton defence to settle the game at Goodison Park
That month saw him score in the FA Cup win at Fleetwood, twice in a 4-0 rout of Accrington Stanley and another in a home win over Doncaster Rovers.
Continuing his form into December and beyond, Jebbison now has eight for the campaign and is thriving.
‘He has helped me a lot,’ Jebbison says of Hasselbaink in a chat with Sportsmail.
Jebbison has scored eight times for Burton so far during his loan spell
‘We always do extras after training, he might pull me aside and do some finishing drills and he tells me what he did every day to help him.
‘I try putting that in my game and it always works. Even during some games, he gives me advice and it always works.
‘He is a really good manager and I really like him, he has been great to me. He definitely likes players with character and a good mentality.’
With relegation already confirmed, Sheffield United’s interim manager Paul Heckingbottom (now permanently in charge) promoted Jebbison from the academy ranks.
Having made his debut against Crystal Palace and then netted at Goodison Park.
‘The feeling was great, it was like “wow!” It’s like you’ve done something really amazing and you try to comprehend what you’ve just done,’ he recalls.
‘I got loads of people messaging me after and congratulating me. My family first of all, my school in Canada, it was a bit crazy.
‘When the line-up came out and they saw I was starting, my old club in Canada, ANB, saw it and they called everyone at the club, saying a former player was starting in the Premier League today.
David Roman created this stunning artwork of Jebbison to mark his player of the month win
‘It was good to have everyone there watching and hopefully I gave a good impression to all the young kids there at my old club. It is always good to be an example, to be a role model.’
Ironically, the player Jebbison models his attacking game on was standing at the other end of the pitch when that goal went in.
‘Dominic Calvert-Lewin, I look at his movement in the box and it’s very similar to me,’ he says.
‘I try to watch him because he’s one of the best for movement in the box.’
Jebbison admires the penalty box movement of Everton and England striker Calvert-Lewin
As alluded to, Jebbison’s background is a little out of the ordinary. Canada isn’t known for being a hotbed of football talent though Bayern Munich star Alphonso Davies is doing his best to change that perception.
Jebbison hails from Oakville, a large town on Lake Ontario not far from Toronto or Niagara Falls. He played youth football for ANB Futbol between the ages of six and 14.
His father Patrick was an accomplished basketball player who led the Bobcats of Brandon University to three straight national championships and represented Canada. His mother Christine was a track athlete who ran for Great Britain.
So with those sporting genes, all this was maybe pre-destined.
Jebbison with dad Patrick and mum Christine as he signed his Sheffield United contract
‘When I was growing up, I was very versatile. I played baseball at school, basketball, volleyball and, of course, football,’ the teenager explains.
‘I really wanted to get into ice hockey as well when I was young because that is the main sport.
‘It is very strange because over here [in England] you have professional academies but in Canada it is not like that. You pay to play football.
‘I just played a load of sports for fun when I was in Canada but when I was 13 or 14, I got quite seriously into football.’
His older brothers, Jonathan and Micah, were attending a football camp but it ended up being Daniel, just dribbling and shooting at a net on the sidelines, who caught the attention of scouts.
And his potential was really unlocked when the family relocated to England with Christine going first to work in banking and Patrick following.
Hasselbaink was a deadly goalscorer for Chelsea, Leeds, Atletico Madrid and other clubs
They settled in Derby with Daniel playing for local club Gresley Rovers at first.
‘Nothing was really happening then my Dad one day took me to UK Football Trials with my two other brothers,’ he said.
‘Me and Micah got invited to Sheffield United. It took me a very long time to get a contract and unfortunately my brother didn’t make it.
‘It was tough just getting into the academy. I just made it. I didn’t even get offered a scholarship at first but I eventually got one. I went to many other teams on trial where I didn’t make it.’
Jebbison keeps a close eye on how the Blades are getting on but his immediate concern is firing Burton up the table, hopefully into the Play-offs at the end of the season.
The Brewers sit 12th ahead of Saturday’s visit to Gillingham and have 11 points to make up to sixth place but the ambition is clear cut.
‘I’ll take this award and accept it but I’m not going to relax on it. You need to keep on going and pushing hard.’
Martinelli is the fans’ favourite
Arsenal forward Gabriel Martinelli scooped the PFA Vertu Motors Premier League Player of the Month in December after three goals and two assists in six league games.
Martinelli beat team-mate Martin Odegaard plus Raheem Sterling, James Ward-Prowse, Son Heung-min and James Maddison to win the fan vote.
Manchester United’s Alessia Russo won the Women’s Super League prize for December.
And in the EFL, Blackburn’s prolific striker Ben Brereton Diaz won the award for the Championship, Ipswich Town’s James Norwood for League One and Forest Green’s Mathew Stevens for League Two.
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