Former Sheffield United man, Jose Baxter, is now playing in the second tier of US football with Memphis 901 FC.

Baxter joined the USL Championship side in February having been without a club since leaving Plymouth Argyle in December.

The team are co-owned by former Everton goalkeeper and USA international, Tim Howard. Baxter was an academy product at Goodison Park, making 15 first team appearances.

After leaving for Oldham Athletic, the 28-year-old joined the Blades in 2013. Baxter spent three years at Bramall Lane, playing 121 times before being released in May 2016.

The forward’s departure coincided with Chris Wilder’s arrival as manager. Yet in truth, Baxter’s time at the club had been coming to an end before then. As BBC Sport reports, in that final season in South Yorkshire he was suspended twice in nine months for drug use.

Baxter was later given a 12-month contract by the Toffees as a lifeline, before rejoining Oldham and then Plymouth.

What could have been for Jose Baxter at the Blades

(Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

While the rise of United under Wilder has received plenty of deserved praise, Baxter may look at what the club has achieved and see a missed opportunity.

A recognised talent, the attacker remains Everton’s youngest ever first team player. While Premier League football perhaps arrived a little too soon for him, Baxter was a force to be reckoned with on his day at League One level.

With Wilder at the helm, there was a chance to finally realise that potential. Baxter would have been perfect for the number ten role so often occupied by Mark Duffy.

Instead his time at the club fizzled out, as has his career to a certain extent.

That is not to say Wilder could have stopped that. Baxter told BBC Sport last year about his struggles with drug use, depression and suicidal thoughts. His issues stretched far beyond football.

Yet there was a time when he was one of the brightest talents in the Blades squad. And one who certainly had the capability to rise with them through the divisions.

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