John Lundstram has dominated the conversation among plenty of Sheffield United fans in the last few months.
The midfielder’s apparent refusal to sign a contract has not gone down too well with a large section of supporters. Chris Wilder has criticised the decision, believing Lundstram should sign a deal that the boss himself said would put him in upper echelons of Blades wage earners.
Since that passionate address from Wilder, United have played two games. In both games, Lundstram has featured. Coming off the bench against Man City and starting in the dismal effort at Chelsea.
Of course, Wilder is within his rights to keep picking ‘Lunny’ and knows his mind-set, abilities, and work ethic better than anyone here. But within those games, the problem has been that Lundstram has shown very little.
Against City, he blew a big chance to get the equaliser. While at Chelsea, he was something of a passenger and looked off the pace and at times, dare I say it, disinterested.
And here is where the problem lies.
That word above is a big one in football. We, as fans and observers of the game, can jump to conclusions and perceive things as being different.
Clearly, Lundstram may have been working his hardest and was simply part of a dire team effort at Chelsea. But because of circumstance, I’ve singled him out and any misplaced pass or run he didn’t make drew a response of disappointment. How right or wrong that was, is open for discussion.
But it’s becoming an issue. There’s an argument, too, that having no fans is probably benefiting Lundstram. Yes, we get behind our team at Bramall Lane but nobody can deny there wouldn’t be a small smattering of boos or chuntering among 30,000 Blades.
Furthermore, how is the dressing room seeing all this? Suddenly, after four years of team unity and all pulling in the same direction, we have a player on our hands who is trying to squeeze all he can out of the club and is, frankly, distracted from his task at hand.
It just doesn’t sit right at the moment. Of course, it’s magnified by the fact we are struggling. It’s also probably unavoidable given our lack of midfield options.
But now, more than ever, United need everyone on board and steering this currently leaky ship to dry land and safety.
Unfortunately, that means cutting Lundstram adrift and letting the players who want to wear the red and white with pride, passion, and a common goal, lead the charge.