Garth Crooks has included two Sheffield United players in his Premier League team of the week.
Only Manchester United – who beat rivals Manchester City 2-0 on Sunday – have more.
Now Crooks hasn’t always been the biggest fan of the Blades this season. Back in September the BBC pundit first dubbed them as “basic” – a description he would revive a few months later.
However, by mid-December, Crooks admitted that United “now have my attention.” At that point Chris Wilder’s side were fifth in the table at the halfway point in the season.
It’s fair to say Crooks is a little late to the party.
Yet after beating Norwich City 1-0 at the weekend to move up to seventh, both Dean Henderson and Chris Basham have earned praise from the former footballer. Sort of.
“I must say his (Henderson) double save against Norwich was a match winner,” Crooks wrote in his column.
“Any keeper who has had very little to do, but can suddenly spring into action and make such a vital contribution to the game must be in a great frame of mind.
“Whether that in itself is enough to constitute an England call-up I am not entirely sure, but he’s made my team of the week.”
What else Garth Crooks says in his team of the week
Crooks isn’t convinced that Henderson should be included by England. This is despite the fact the Manchester United loanee has ten clean sheets this season. Only Burnley’s Nick Pope has kept more.
Henderson has also helped the Blades to the second best defensive record in the division behind only leaders Liverpool.
That is something Basham has also contributed to as part of Wilder’s innovative overlapping centre-back system. Yet Crooks just can’t get on board with these tactics – even when he is supposedly praising the South Yorkshire team.
“What was he doing there? Chris Basham in open play receives the ball in the box with his back to goal, flicks it over Kenny McLean’s head and takes a touch before he put his effort over the bar. His reaction indicated he felt he should have put Sheffield United 2-0 up,” Crooks continues.
“Now, Basham is a central defender and does not have a reputation for scoring goals so I want to know what he thinks he’s playing at? Basham has been outstanding this season for the Blades. I’m still not mad about their style of play but they have unbelievable spirit.”