Sheffield United are enjoying success beyond their wildest dreams in the Premier League at the moment but they should not forget about players like Daniel Lafferty.
The Northern Ireland defender proved crucial as the Blades won promotion from League One. That season, Lafferty played 37 times, scoring four goals and providing a further three assists along the way. Quite fittingly for Lafferty, he scored the crucial winning goal against Chesterfield as Chris Wilder’s men hit the 100 points mark.
The Blades moved to sign Enda Stevens in the summer following promotion. Few could imagine how good Stevens would go on to be, but Lafferty’s contribution should not be underestimated.
As Chris Wilder set about cementing his team’s place back in the Championship, Lafferty proved invaluable. Used more of an understudy to the emerging Stevens, Lafferty still contributed throughout the season. He never complained about a lack of game time. Put simply, he got his head down and worked hard for the good of the team.
Those sort of traits are what have epitomised this Sheffield United squad’s rise to the top. Chris Wilder does not suffer fools and has no place for inflated egos in his squad. In Daniel Lafferty, Sheffield United had a player who summed up what Wilder demands of his troops.
One of many examples
Chris Wilder has spoken on more than one occasion of it being about the group. The squad and the goal of the team is greater than that of any individual player.
Daniel Lafferty was one of a number of players who fit that ethos over the last couple of seasons. Richard Stearman is a shining example of this in the current squad. Last season the likes of Martin Cranie did a very similar job.
It’s all about stepping in when needed and being ready. Lafferty, Stearman, and Cranie are the type of player who does just that. The type of player that every successful squad needs.
This season will see those types of player needed more than ever. Sunday’s win at Norwich showed that the same mentality is still within the group. The likes of Billy Sharp, Luke Freeman, and Simon Moore have seen opportunities limited this year. However, all three were on the field celebrating wildly at the full-time whistle.
Sheffield United are going places under Chris Wilder. Staying humble and passing the odd knowing nod to the likes of Daniel Lafferty, then, is crucial in the Blades and their fans keeping feet firmly grounded.