John Egan has once again been a standout performer for Sheffield United this season.
The centre-back has started all 12 of their Premier League matches in 2019/20, helping them to fifth in the table.
Egan is at the heart of a defence that has kept the joint most clean sheets in the division. Only Leicester City have conceded fewer goals.
According to The Sun on Sunday (17/11, page 69) Everton are interested in signing Egan. It may have taken slightly longer than expected, but the 27-year-old is being recognised as a leading top flight defender.
A product of the Sunderland academy, Egan never played a first team game for them. Instead the Republic of Ireland international made a name for himself in the lower leagues.
Signed by the Blades in the summer of 2018, Egan was instrumental in them gaining promotion from the Championship with the joint best defensive record in the division.
Yet six years earlier something happened that changed his life forever.
The event that shaped Sheffield United star John Egan
Growing up in his native Ireland, Egan’s name was a famous one from birth. His father, John Senior, was a highly decorated Gaelic footballer.
John Junior was also a talented player in the sport, but instead chose soccer for his path. Then in April 2012, when Egan was in the Black Cats youth system, the unthinkable happened.
“It was just horrendous in lots of ways. Obviously John was over in England and he gets a phone call to say his dad’s passed away,” Egan’s school principal, Brian Cuthbert, told JOE.
“I would say that John Junior was on the cusp of just starting into the next part of his career, had this horrific injury (Egan broke his leg in March 2012) and then this happens.
“You’re a long way from home, you can be a bit lost. It just shows the drive and determination he has that he picked himself up from that.
“When you talk to John he still has a sense that his dad is still there and his dad is still watching him and his dad is still advising him.”