When the away end emptied at Ewood Park a few weeks ago, you’d have been hard-pressed to find a Sheffield United fan who believed a playoff push was even remotely likely. However, what a difference a few results and a change in manager can make.
Last night’s brilliant win at Fulham was a statement. A statement of intent from this Sheffield United squad that they are very much in the promotion race. Solid at the back, yet blistering on the counter-attack, it was a performance which harked back to the Chris Wilder days at times.
On the night, there were outstanding performers across the board. Iliman Ndiaye took most of the plaudits, while in defence, Jack Robinson impressed after coming in from the cold to replace Ben Davies.
But one player who seems to be growing in confidence with each passing week at Sheffield United, is right wing-back, Jayden Bogle. The former Derby man has excelled of late. He’s seized his chance and unfortunately for George Baldock, doesn’t seem to be letting up one bit.
When you look at a Sheffield United team back in its more familiar 3-5-2 formation, you’re looking for the wing-backs to be heavily involved. And Bogle, like Enda Stevens on the other side, was very much a big contributor to the cause.
Chris Wilder paid around £10m for Bogle as part of a £15m double deal with Max Lowe. At the time, Wilder remarked how Bogle would put ‘huge pressure’ on Baldock. And while Lowe has struggled to do the same with Stevens, it’s safe to say young Jayden is looking a fine purchase now.
Last night at Fulham, Bogle was outstanding. To the naked eye, he seemed to be involved in so much. And the stats, provided by Whoscored.com, back that narrative up as well.
Bogle had 53 touches for United, second only to Enda Stevens on the other side and ahead of the likes of Norwood and Hourihane in the middle. He won a team high six aerial duals and matched John Egan with six clearances.
Going forward, Bogle completed as many dribbles as the brilliant Ndiaye. Indeed, but for a poor touch from Sander Berge’s pass, the right-back might have got on the scoresheet.
While nobody will ever doubt the contribution and quality George Baldock has brought to Sheffield United, it is good to see Bogle taking his chance.
The ex-Derby man looks at home as a wing-back. With Chris Basham behind him, you can see his confidence is up and he’s learning every week in terms of his defensive duties. Crucially, too, Bogle also offers a goal threat.
He scored three times in just 21 games last season. This year, he bagged the winner at Reading, and has a handy knack of getting into good positions in attacking areas.
For now, the shirt is Jayden Bogle’s to lose. But for Paul Heckingbottom, having two players in the squad who are so, so good in that right wing-back position, is a massive plus point.