Sheffield United defender, George Baldock, is having quite the season in the red and white stripes of the Blades.
After joining the club in the summer of 2017, Baldock has gone from strength to strength. He battled with Kieron Freeman for the right to be the number one right wing-back in the United XI. It was a battle he won and won well in the end.
Baldock was instrumental as the Blades won promotion from the Championship. Indeed, his form was so impressive that Scottish giants, Celtic, were linked with a summer move for the 26-year-old.
At the time, there was a portion of Sheffield United fans who wouldn’t have been too fussed had Baldock gone. The usual terrace murmurings of ‘his final ball lets him down’ and ‘not sure he’s good enough defensively for the Premier League’ were spouted.
However, as we’ve seen, Baldock has proved those doubters emphatically wrong. His performance levels for the Blades have been exceptional.
Two goals and three assists only tell half the story of Baldock’s form. Along with Enda Stevens, he’s become integral to United’s system.
Baldock has yet to miss a minute of the Blades’ Premier League campaign. It’s easy to see, then, why Gareth Southgate has reportedly earmarked Baldock for a call-up to the England squad.
Dispelling the final ball myth
As mentioned, comments were made about Baldock’s final ball. In the Championship, he got into plenty of excellent positions but finished the season with only two assists a single goal.
This season has been a different story, however. As mentioned, Baldock has already got three assists to his name. He’s also notched twice himself, while 26% of his crosses are classed as successful. (Sofascore)
While those numbers don’t seem huge, it does put him in the top five in terms of accurate crosses in the Premier League. That ranks him above Trent Alexander-Arnold, although, granted, the Liverpool man does attempt slightly more per game.
His passing, too, in the final third is impressive for a defender. Baldock averages over 65% in terms of accurate passes in attacking areas.
In the summer, the interest in Baldock from Celtic was thought to involve a minimal fee. A couple of million pounds was the fee being touted before Baldock signed his new deal in August.
Looking back, that fee would have been laughable. Had the Blades decided to ‘cash in’ at that point, it would have been more than embarrassing for the club.
George Baldock has taken the Premier League by storm. While Celtic will look back and wonder what if, the Blades are reaping the rewards of having developed one of the finest wing-backs in the country.