In his column for The Star, former Blades player Kevin Gage has detailed who will have benefited most from the dreaded winter break.
Sheffield United now haven’t played since their win over Bournemouth on February 9th as they earn some much-deserved time off.
There may not have been much football for the Blades to consider over the last week and a half but it’s still been a hectic period.
Discussions over John Lundstram’s contract have been at the forefront of recent narratives while the realisation that Champions League football may be coming to Bramall Lane has become apparent.
Heading into the winter break, Chris Wilder’s men sat rather remarkably in sixth place. After Manchester City were banned from European competitions for two years, it now means that fifth place will secure a Champions League place.
If United qualified, it would be a sensational turn of events. A winter break, therefore, will have done the players the world of good as they pursue that unlikely goal.
But who will have benefited the most from a succession of days in Dubai? Gage gave his verdict:
“For the Blades it’s actually come at a very good time indeed as we went into it on the back of two superb wins, up to fifth in the league and with our reputation as a football club rising all the time. It will also give the five new transfer window signings a bit more time to settle in, become accustomed to their teammates, and not only get used to our style of playing, but also adapt and get their head around the physical expectations of being a Sheffield United player under this regime.
“After all, it’s probably a big jump from what they’ve been accustomed to and as we’ve witnessed with Sander Berge to an extent, it’s a big ask to get up to speed so soon.”
This has been like a mini pre-season for the new players at Sheffield United. Rather than having matches in the way they’ve been able to solidly focus on the demands of Wilder’s play and what he requires from his players in the specific system.
The Blades have a regimented style that not only relies on hard work and togetherness but also relies on the mentality of the players to carry it out so smoothly.
Playing with a formation that incorporates two strikers, wing-backs and a three-man defence isn’t a usual formation but it’s worked a treat considering their league position.
Therefore, time away to focus on getting adjusted to Wilder’s methods is exactly what players like Berge, Panagiotis Retsos and Richairo Zivkovic will have needed.
In other Blades news, the club are targetting a £20m+ addition ahead of the summer…