Kieran Dowell has explained why his loan spell at Sheffield United never really worked out.
Dowell joined the Blades in January 2019. He made 17 appearances as they were promoted from the Championship.
There was speculation that United would try and re-sign the midfielder from Everton that summer. But it never materialised.
Instead, Dowell returned on loan to the second tier of English football in 2019/20.
The 23-year-old struggled at Derby County in the first half of that campaign. He then switched to Wigan Athletic and impressed with five goals in 13 games.
Having come through the youth ranks at Goodison Park, Dowell permanently left the Toffees at the end of the campaign to join Norwich City.
The former England Under-21 international has helped them to the Championship title and will be playing in the Premier League next term.
Why Kieran Dowell struggled at Sheffield United
Dowell was part of a promotion-winning side at Bramall Lane, but never truly felt comfortable in Chris Wilder’s system.
“Comparing different systems I’ve played in, at Sheffield United the game-plan was to overload in wide areas,” he told The Liverpool Echo.
“We had Mark Duffy, he was really good at it and had it down to a tee and found himself in wide areas.
“As a No.10, I was a bit reluctant to do that, so I never got to grips with it at Sheffield United.”
Duffy also left the Blades that summer after falling out with Wilder.
As it was, the United boss tweaked his system for the top flight. Wilder dropped the number ten and instead switched to a flat midfield three.
The tactic worked wonders that first campaign, with the South Yorkshire side finishing ninth.
Clearly Dowell was never part of the plan. Although he’s arguably had the last laugh, with he and Norwich swapping places with the Blades next season.