Few players at Sheffield United have shown the consistency that John Egan has in recent seasons.
The Irishman has been a mainstay of a back three which has had its ups and downs in the last four seasons under different managers. Egan was at the heart of things alongside Chris Basham and Jack O’Connell as United won promotion and then finished ninth in the Premier League. Since then, he’s played as part of a struggling back four under Slavisa Jokanovic, before revelling once again in Paul Heckingbottom’s switch back to a three.
Indeed, since making what was believed to be a £4.5m move from Brentford in 2018, Egan has racked up nearly 200 Blades appearances and is a firm favourite among supporters.
Of course, Egan’s journey to United has been a long one and he’s given a brilliant interview with The Irish Examiner where he discusses the ups and downs of his career so far. And within that interview, Egan namechecked two current England internationals in Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson and Everton’s Jordan Pickford as being vital in his career.
Egan Praises Henderson And Pickford
One of the hallmarks of Egan’s success at Sheffield United has been his ability to be constantly fit and free from injury. Barring the odd knock, Egan has pretty much featured every week since signing. A steely determination seems to sit within Egan’s game, and that, he says, can be attributed to taking note of the likes of Pickford and Henderson at a young age.
“For any young player when you get to 19, 20, I think Under-20 or Under-23 football isn’t ideal. You need to get out and play at first-team level somewhere, anywhere. You need to make a career for yourself, so you should go out quickly,” Egan told the Irish Examiner.
“When you do play regularly at first-team level then there should be no going back to the Under-23s. I looked at the likes of Jordan Pickford and Jordan Henderson, who went out, played a lot of games and came back with real confidence in themselves. They broke into the first team at Sunderland and then went on to other clubs. They are examples of what I saw at first hand. So I think when you do get that experience you are a different player.”
Of course, Egan has more than done his part in following those two players. Now captain for club and country, Egan has certainly got the maximum out of his time as a Sheffield United player.
Sheff U News View: One Of United’s Best Signings
It’s subjective this matter, but there is no doubting that John Egan is in the top ten signings United have made in the last few decades, and even maybe in the all-time list.
Looking back, that £4-5m fee is an absolute bargain. In fact, it’s hard to imagine how the Blades’ 3-5-2 system would have worked without Egan’s understanding of his role in it and his performance levels.
Egan has been nothing short of superb since signing for United and hopefully, promotion back to the Premier League will see fresh terms handed to the skipper.