'Get yourself fit': Heckingbottom throws down gauntlet to Reda Khadra
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'Get yourself fit': Heckingbottom throws down gauntlet to Reda Khadra

Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom was in no mood to beat around the bush when asked about Reda Khadra this week.

Khadra has had a disappointing loan spell so far at United. Barring a late winner at Swansea, the Brighton loanee hasn’t delivered any of the moments which saw him impress so much last year. At Blackburn, Khadra was used as one of the main attacking players.

However, at United, he has been used in a variety of positions, including an unfamiliar wing-back role.

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But when asked about what Khadra can do to get in the Sheffield United XI, Heckingbottom simply stated it’s about getting fit and performing in training.

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“Performances, training ground and on the pitch, that’s it. Performances. Get yourself fit and available to play and then affect the games,” Hecky told Yorkshire Live.

“The one thing I have said to Reda is he’s not here to try and play like any of our players, he’s been brought in because he is different. He’s got to be positive and if he’s going to lose the ball, he’s got to lose the ball going that way [forward] and being really positive and brave with it.”

Khadra played 60 minutes for the United under-21s this week. Whether or not that is a sign of a lack of fitness, or simply a way to get game time, only he and the club knows.

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It’s a long old season for Sheffield United and Reda Khadra can play a big role still. There is no doubt about it.

He has an abundance of talent and as the manager touches on, he’s not really like many of the other players in this Blades squad.

The big conundrum seems to be how he’s best used. United don’t play with conventional wingers or wide forwards, meaning Khadra needs to adapt. Whether that means he works at playing in that wing-back role or he contributes as a forward.

However, there is still so much football to be played and Khadra will help United. His goal at Swansea showed he can win games from nowhere, and the Blades will need moments like that again as the season progresses.

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