Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images

Jagielka display at Manchester United shows Sheffield United need to call on experience to survive

Phil Jagielka rolled back the years as Sheffield United pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the season so far.

Bottom-placed with just five points and one win going into their trip to Manchester United, the Blades left Old Trafford with a 2-1 victory.

With John Egan suspended, at 38-years-old Jagielka was handed only his third Premier League start of 2020/21.

The veteran was crucial in his team securing the three points with a resolute defensive display.

Yet Jagielka wasn’t the only player over 30 to be named in the starting XI by manager Chris Wilder.

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Chris Basham retained his place of course, but Billy Sharp and David McGoldrick were also named upfront together.

The duo were dynamic during the promotion campaign of 2018/19, but with a combined age of 67 rarely play alongside each other anymore.

However, Wilder decided experience was needed – and was proven correct.

“He’s played a big part off the pitch, as well as on it when he has the opportunity,” the 53-year-old told the BBC about Jagielka.

“I thought it was right to play the experienced boys. Billy Sharp and David McGoldrick gave us a platform to try and get something from the game.

“I should imagine from Phil’s point-of-view, in the twilight of his career, it’s a great moment for him personally.”

Jagielka performance shows experience is key for Sheffield United

Photo by TIM KEETON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Since getting promoted from the Championship, there has been one eye on the future for the Blades.

Which makes sense when trying to build a successful club. The majority of their signings have been younger players with the potential to develop and improve.

Which is fine. But when a situation such as the one they currently find themselves in arises, it’s a lot to ask of those players to turn it around.

The likes of Rhian Brewster, Max Lowe and Aaron Ramsdale have been criticised since arriving at Bramall Lane last summer.

Wilder has defended them and rightly so. They could one day be star performers for the club.

Yet here and now, results are needed. Which is why the likes of Jagielka, McGoldrick and Sharp are the ones to look to. The experienced heads who have seen this many times before.

The midfield also looks far more balanced with 29-year-old Ollie Norwood reintroduced on a regular basis.

Building for the future is important. But for now stick with experience.

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