Jack Rodwell was one of the big talking points from Sheffield United’s Premier League match at Burnley on Sunday.
That is despite the fact Rodwell only played the final 15 minutes of the 1-1 draw and had three touches of the ball.
The reason there was such interest was because it was the first time the 29-year-old had played in the top flight in more than three years.
Last time Rodwell featured in the division was during Sunderland’s 5-1 defeat to Chelsea in May 2017 ahead of their relegation.
The former England international, who has three caps for his country, became a demonised figure at the Stadium Of Light. As BBC Sport reports, Rodwell was earning £70,000-a-week in the Championship, but made just two league appearances in 2017/18.
He had his contract cancelled following their drop into League One and joined Blackburn Rovers for the 2018/19 season. Rodwell was without a club after leaving Blackburn before Chris Wilder decided to give him another chance at the top.
What next for Rodwell?
After starting the FA Cup third round victory over AFC Fylde shortly after signing, Rodwell did not feature for the Blades again until last weekend.
Despite that, the Everton academy product still had his contract extended until the end of the 2019/20 campaign. Now Rodwell will be looking to build on his minutes on the pitch.
With injuries to John Fleck, Luke Freeman and John Lundstram in midfield and and a congested fixture list, he is in contention to feature again when Wolverhampton Wanderers visit Bramall Lane on Wednesday.
“We need that competition and Jack’s been pushing,” Wilder told BBC Radio Sheffield ahead of the Wolves game. “He can play as a sitting midfield player, he can play right of a three (in central defence)
“His performances around the place have been good and there’s an opportunity for him to play. He’s been in my thought process as well.”
Rodwell replaced Chris Basham against the Clarets, but did play in midfield as Wilder changed his formation. It is, after all, in the middle where the Blades are lacking options currently due to injury.
Rodwell’s short-term deal in South Yorkshire expires this summer, but if he takes this opportunity that could well be extended.
“We’re just trying to think about getting through this period,” Wilder said when asked about it. “There’s always medium and long-term situations.”