As Sheffield United prepare to face Leicester City tonight, one of the big questions on every Blades fans’ lips is if Chris Wilder will stick with Ben Osborn or go with a – potentially – returning John Fleck.
Wilder confirmed this week that Fleck could well be ready to go when United travel to the Midlands this evening.
And it’s posed quite the conversation among Blades fans, with Fleck’s replacement, Ben Osborn, being so impressive since he got his chance with the Scot injured.
Osborn has played a key role in wins against Wolves, Chelsea, and Tottenham. Indeed, against Wolves, he won bundles of praise for the interception which, ultimately, led to United getting the corner that they won the game from.
So, with the former Nottingham Forest man in such great form and Fleck close to a return, should Wilder keep Osborn in the starting XI?
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Unfortunately for the Osborn, the answer to that will probably be a no.
Return of O’Connell proves no room for sentiment, despite Osborn’s brilliance
It is in no way shape or form a dig at Ben Osborn to say he should be replaced by John Fleck. His form and performances of late have been excellent and if he does keep his place, there’ll be no complaints from us.
However, we’ve already seen the impact Jack O’Connell has had on the team since his return. Yes, Jack Robinson did a good job but O’Connell just has that bit extra. Again, it’s nothing against Robinson, it’s just how it is.
Osborn, then, will know in the back of his mind Fleck will get the nod if fit. He’s United’s driving force of creativity and has provided and scored in crucial moments throughout the season. Five goals from midfield say it all, as do sterling performances against the likes of City, Man United, and Burnley earlier in the campaign, to name but three.
So, while Ben Osborn has been excellent, the Blades have to play their best XI. At the moment, John Fleck is, arguably, the best player in that best XI.
Unfortunately for Osborn, we just aren’t in a position to not play our best players when it matters most.