When you think of Sheffield United over the last five or six seasons, John Fleck is one of those names who features prominently.
Regarded by many United fans as one of the best free-transfers the club has ever made, Fleck was integral in helping the Blades clamber out of League One, then the Championship, and then ultimately, the fantastic season in the Premier League where United finished ninth.
In terms of status and contribution at The Lane, few have done more than Fleck in recent times. However, with the Yorkshire Post listing the Scot among 12 Blades set to be out of contract this summer and the midfielder out injured once again, could we about to see a sad ending for the former Rangers man?
As things stand, it’s looking very much like that might be how things pan out for ‘Flecky’.
Not The Same Player
Despite a positive end to last season for Fleck, it’s hard to argue that United haven’t seen the best of the Scottish international for some time now. Certainly, since the year United came down from the PL, Fleck has – at times – looked a shadow of his former self.
A number of injury setbacks for Fleck can be noted and taken into account. As can the horrific collapse he suffered at Reading last November.
Those knockbacks, in addition to the fact the Paul Heckingbottom very much seems to be trusting in the young Tommy Doyle in midfield, means it seems a long way back for Fleck as things stand.
Ultimately, it is a massive shame to see. Of course, Fleck could return from injury and play a big role this season. But ahead of a summer when so many will be wanting fresh terms, there are question marks over whether he has done enough to warrant a new contract.
A United legend, yes. But worthy of a new deal at 31 with injuries and poor form behind him? We’re not so sure.