This article forms part of our ‘In Focus’ series, where we will look at what we hope to see from the different players in the Sheffield United squad during the 20/21 season.
We start our series with the hot topic of Lys Mousset, a man who seems to divide opinion at Bramall Lane.
Signed from Bournemouth last summer for around £10m, Mousset has, at times, looked like being one of the best players we have had at The Lane in a number of years.
Strong, quick, a really good finisher and with a bit of swagger about him, the Frenchman is one of those players who gets fans up and off their seats (when we are allowed in to Bramall Lane, of course).
But on the reverse of that – and to the frustration of many – Mousset seems to have things in his game which hold him back from fulfilling his massive potential.
Fitness seems to be one problem. Without coming down too hard on him, Mousset failed to complete 90 minutes once last season. The closest he came was an 87 minute stint away at Spurs, while he also played over 80 minutes against Manchester City at The Etihad.
Putting it bluntly, this has to change and be corrected. Yes, strikers get rotated and are often taken off late in tight games. But he is a professional footballer and should be able to play the full 90 if needed. How this is overcome is, ultimately, down to the player and the coaching staff around him.
Mousset finished last season with six goals and four assists in the Premier League. In fairness to him, had we said at the start of the season he’d have a direct involvement in 10 goals, most fans would have probably taken it.
But there is so much more to come from him. He must know it, Wilder certainly knows it, and the majority of us fans know it. Indeed, of the six he scored, five came before Christmas. He netted just once afterwards, bagging a tap in as we demolished Spurs following the lockdown period.
So, consistency would appear to be the obvious word to chuck in here. But that consistency will only come with getting regular minutes under his belt. And that harks back to those comments on his fitness, which he needs to be responsible for and address.
Chris Wilder believes in him…for now anyway. The majority of fans believe in him, too. However, Mousset has to show that little bit more hunger and desire like the rest of the group. Yes, all players are different and have their own ways of doing things but we’d hate to see it cost Mousset the chance of being a Blades legend.
Hopefully, this is the season for ‘Moose’ and with a bit of TLC (not the band), and some goals under his belt, the Frenchman can hit double figures and propel us into the top half of the table.