Sheffield United defender, John Egan, believes that the Blades defending as one is giving the team a chance of winning games this season.
Egan, alongside Chris Basham and Jack O’Connell, has been part of a back three that has kept six clean sheets this season. That number is, in fact, only bettered by Leicester City in the Premier League.
The Ireland defender has become the key man in that back three, too. He’s missed only one game with a concussion injury and has marshalled some of the top strikers in the league such as Harry Kane, Roberto Firmino, and Marcus Rashford.
But rather than revelling in personal plaudits, Egan was quick to point out the key to the Blades’ defensive success.
“As a unit, we work really well together,” Egan said (Sheffield Star).
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“We’ve come up against some really good strikers this year. And if we can defend well, we can keep on winning games.”
Those comments would appear to stack up for the Blades. Of the six shut-outs recorded, five of those have resulted in wins. Watford were the only team to keep United from taking all three points.
More to defending than just the back three
Anyone who watches Sheffield United a lot will be aware of how solid the team is.
And while Egan and his fellow defenders play a massive part, there is so much more to it as a team. There’s plenty of communication and rotations, while Ollie Norwood plays a crucial part in directing play from the middle.
John Lundstram and John Fleck both help defend wider areas alongside wing-backs George Baldock and Enda Stevens. Furthermore, when the Blades defence is penetrated, Dean Henderson has been in fine form.
Barring a mistake against Liverpool, the Manchester United loanee has been more or less faultless.
Finally, at the top of the pitch, David McGoldrick works his socks off and drops into deep-lying areas to cut out passing lanes and panic defenders into rash decisions.
The Blades, essentially, are a team who don’t mind defending and John Egan, therefore, is central to their success.