Sheffield United manager, Paul Heckingbottom, was fielding questions on Jack O’Connell yesterday and didn’t exactly deliver the news Blades fans wanted.
O’Connell has been missing for all of two full seasons now with a serious injury and there are genuine concerns that United won’t ever see him in the first-team again. However, Heckingbottom has been doing his best to allay those fears and often plays down any pressure on O’Connell returning.
And speaking in his presser yesterday, the Blades boss did the same again as he admitted ‘JoC’ isn’t even close to kicking a ball yet.
“Pointless putting any time on it, just important we keep working with Jack and giving him all the support and the time he needs to get back fit. He’s in the building around the boys, smile on his face but it’s a tough place to be,” Heckingbottom said of O’Connell.
“He’ll be back when he’s back. We wouldn’t put anything on Jack because he always gets to a certain point. I had him training with me [end of last season] and it’s just those final hurdles and getting over it. He’s back in the gym doing all the strength work for his knee. We’ll just continue down that route. Aerobically he works hard, on the bike and in the gym. Everything he can do.”
Our View: United Might Have Seen The Last Of Jack O’Connell
It just doesn’t sound good, does it? Whenever Heckingbottom is asked about it there never seems a positive update, just that it’s more of the same.
It must be hugely frustrating for O’Connell. First and foremost, it’s his career and he’s gone from knocking on the England door to not even being able to kick a ball. It’s shocking for him, and we honestly just hope he can get back playing at some level.
Will that be with Sheffield United? It’s looking more and more like it won’t be. However, we can all keep our fingers crossed and if O’Connell does ever make that return, you can expect a packed out Bramall Lane to welcome him back.