Wilder criticises 'two or three' players, including Fleck - so it could be time for changes
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Wilder criticises 'two or three' players, including Fleck - so it could be time for changes

John Fleck is among the “two or three” Sheffield United players that manager Chris Wilder thinks are struggling for form since the restart.

The Blades have lost three of their four matches since returning to action following the 2-1 FA Cup quarter-final defeat to Arsenal.

It was certainly an improved performance at Bramall Lane on Sunday following successive 3-0 Premier League defeats to Newcastle United and Manchester United.

David McGoldrick also scored the club’s first goal of ‘Project Restart’ and was among the better performers on the day.

Yet while there was an improvement in certain areas, other still seem off the pace. That includes Fleck, while Enda Stevens also looks below par in comparison to earlier in the season.

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“When Didzy got his rewards (to make it 1-1) I thought the initiative was with us. The ball gets cleared, Enda plays it to John and John just gives it away,” Wilder told BBC Radio Sheffield.

“Would John Fleck have done that when he’s absolutely flying? He’s been absolutely brilliant for us.

“There’s two or three at the moment who are giving everything, but are questioning themselves a little bit.”

Time to drop Fleck and Stevens?

(Photo by Owen Humphreys/Pool via Getty Images)

Games continue to come thick and fast for the Blades and it will be their fifth in a little over two weeks on Thursday when they host Tottenham Hotspur in the league.

Results need to improve and while Wilder is loyal to his players, perhaps changing things up slightly might help that.

Prior to football being suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, Ben Osborn had been filling in for Stevens at left wing-back due to injury.

Osborn looked solid in the role and certainly worthy of being given another opportunity now.

Likewise, it could be time to give Luke Freeman more of the minutes he was enjoying earlier in the campaign. Freeman started three of the Blades’ first four league games, but has started just once in the top flight since.

This isn’t doubting that Fleck and Stevens are still great players. Yet perhaps some time away from the team would be good for everyone.

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