- Premier League
- EFL Championship
- Other Top Clubs
- Scout Reports
Sheffield United sit just outside the play-off places right now and the good thing for them is that many will write off their chances of promotion despite a good start to the season.
They are much more a collective of hard-working players who are proud to be a team than a bunch of individuals, however, Chris Wilder would be the first to admit that despite the admirable organisation of the Blades he would admit that quality is needed to make it to the play-offs and the Blades do have it in them to make it into the top six.
The names might not roll of the tongue in the same way as they would when naming the best players at Manchester City or Barcelona for example, however, everything is relative and so here are two crucial names United will hope stay fit and in form for another few months:
Start with the most obvious! Clarke has struck 15 goals in 26 league starts this term and has had a real renaissance under Chris Wilder. The 32-year-old striker has been outstanding all season long and rarely misses right now when given a chance, something which cannot be valued high enough at any level of football.
He wins his aerial duels, gets his shots away and never lets the defenders rest for a moment and so even if his personal goals were to dry up, his overall contribution remains hugely important to the side in order to bring other people into the game.
What happens at the end of this season is another matter but for now, Clarke appears to be quite rightly the first name on the teamsheet.
The defender, part of Chris Wilder’s favoured back three, has been in outstanding form all season long and even though he is a name the wider football world does not know, he is not lacking in any quality at this level. He doesn’t miss a game, doesn’t get booked often, makes his tackles, gets his head in where it hurts and has good distribution too. O’Connell really is doing the complete job for United right now and will continue to do so for a while yet.
O’Connell is just 23 years of age and is still improving as the months go on, so we haven’t even seen the best of him yet. When the pressure is cranked up towards the spring players like O’Connell become ever more crucial to the cause, and United will hope the defender can take them to the play-offs, at least.