Paul Heckingbottom has explained why John Lundstram keeps starting games for Sheffield United.
Lundstram was heavily criticised by some Blades fans for his performance in Saturday’s 2-1 Premier League defeat at Leeds United.
The midfielder is expected to leave Bramall Lane in the summer when his current contract expires.
Despite being offered a new deal, Lundstram has turned down the opportunity to stay in South Yorkshire.
This in itself has led to some supporters questioning why the 27-year-old is still getting so much game time.
Lundstram has played in 25 of the club’s 30 league matches this season, starting 22 of them. Even though it’s been known for the majority of the campaign that he’s likely to leave.
Yet it’s not as if Lundstram has been backing up the decision to keep playing him with his form. Once again against Leeds he was poor in midfield.
So why keep playing him?
Sheffield United boss explains Lundstram decision
When Chris Wilder left his role as manager, it was thought something might change.
But caretaker boss Heckingbottom has continued starting the wantaway player.
Now the 46-year-old has explained why. Apparently it’s simply down to a lack of options, with Sander Berge still injured.
“Sander is still a couple of weeks away, so will be a while,” Heckingbottom told Yorkshire Live.
“We know we have a lot of options up front, but we are short at the back in terms of centre back positions and we have taken two injuries today in terms of right-sided defenders. Which is a problem and we have had limited options in midfield.
“We know where we stand with it, but it’s not something we are going to moan about. We are going to get on with it and something we will work hard at.”
Not good enough
The Blades have suffered their fair share of injuries in 2020/21 and don’t have many options in midfield.
But they’re also good as relegated this term and their 3-5-2 formation has hardly served them well as they sit bottom of the table.
If dropping Lundstram means a change of tactics, then why not do it?
Start planning for next season when he will no longer be with the club. Continuing to play Lundstram now is simply baffling.