The international break is a slog for most domestic football fans but at least Sheffield United supporters had a few players to take an interest in last night.
The main focus for Blades fans, then, was defensive duo John Egan and Enda Stevens. The pair were both starters for Ireland against Cristiano Ronaldo and his Portugal side. And in fairness to the Blades duo, they helped the Irish to a clean-sheet and 0-0 draw.
But how did Stevens and Egan do against Ronaldo while playing for Ireland? Well, pretty well, if the Irish press is to be believed.
Stevens and Egan impress for Ireland, Ronaldo struggles
Watching the game, the notion that Egan can’t play in a back four seemed to be up for debate. And alongside Shane Duffy and Seamus Coleman in a three, the Blades defender marshalled Ronaldo well all night and was solid. The Irish Independent agreed, giving Egan a 7/10 and a positive review.
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“Got away with one second-half mistake but did all that was asked of him; got the crowd off their feet with a fine challenge on Ronaldo,” they wrote.
For Enda Stevens, it was nice to see him return to some sort of form. The decline of Stevens in red and white has been eye-opening. But for the Irish, he looked closer to his usual self.
“Preferred to James McClean and overcame rocky opening to make his presence felt offensively, just getting feet mixed up for Ireland’s clearest second-half chance,” The Irish Independent wrote.
Positive indeed. Although the last part about messing up the best chance of the game will ring in United fans’ ears loud and clear.
However, this can be a plus for the Blades. If both Egan and Stevens can continue to put in similar displays in the rest of the break, then Slavisa Jokanovic will get two players back in good spirits.