Sheffield United defender Chris Basham has admitted that the Blades’ set-up this season is far removed from their Championship days.
The versatile defender has been an ever-present for Chris Wilder’s men this season so far. Basham, who joined the club back in 2014 on a free transfer, has been one of the key elements to the Blades’ success.
Along with Jack O’Connell and John Egan, Basham has excelled in a back three. United currently have the best defence in the top-flight heading into today’s game with West Ham.
But United ace Basham has admitted that it is no fluke. Speaking to the Yorkshire Post, he revealed just how much work has gone in to defensive shape.
“We are not as gung-ho as what we used to be, against these top players in the Premier League,” Basham said.
“Last year, we didn’t do anywhere near as much defensive work as we have done this season. I think you can see that in the games, we are a lot more structured now.”
Basham’s performances, as one of United’s ‘over-lapping centre-backs’, have helped the Blades to four clean sheets this season.
And Basham admitted that while he knows his role, it’s his defensive partners who really love the art of defending.
“I think Jack and John enjoy (defending) it more than I do, but being a Premier League footballer you have to enjoy (defending), trying to keep a clean sheet.”
A potential worry
With the Blades being so consistent in their selection for the last 18 months, there is a question over what might happen if one of the back three is injured.
Chris Wilder brought in Phil Jagielka in the summer. However, his marauding days are well behind him now given he’s well into his 30’s.
Kieron Freeman remains in the squad, although he is a wing-back predominantly. Ben Osborn was also brought in during the summer, but he is more for midfield and wing-back cover too.
It’s something Chris Wilder might look to address in January depending on how things are going. Enda Stevens can drop into the back three if needed, although United would lose him out wide.
Wilder will be hoping for no injuries and simply to keep his trusted back three together all season.
The Blades travel to West Ham today where Wilder will have a decision on his hands over who makes the starting XI.