At the beginning of the season and the months that followed, the consensus was that David McGoldrick was the best player at Sheffield United.
Despite failing to score, the team seemed to tick more with him in it. McGoldrick linkd play, allowed others to get forward, and was seen by many as the man who was integral to Chris Wilder’s plan.
Indeed, he was compared to Roberto Firmino by some earlier in the campaign.
Indeed, a run of games where McGoldrick didn’t play did yield poor results. Especially at the top end of the field, where chances created and goals scored both dropped.
However, while McGoldrick has been excellent this term, injury has robbed him of the last month of football. During that time, Oli McBurnie has cemented himself and Billy Sharp has come back into the fold.
It’s looking more and more likely, then, that the Republic of Ireland striker faces a big struggle to regain his place in the starting XI.
Other options impressing
As mentioned, Oli McBurnie has put himself right at the top of the pile when it comes to United’s strikers. His performances since the turn of the year have been exceptional. Like McGoldrick, the goals haven’t flowed as he’d have liked but there’s little doubting the former Swansea man has improved.
Billy Sharp has seized his chance it seems, too. Two good cameos away to Man City and Liverpool, plus a solid display at Millwall in the FA Cup have seen him regain his place in the XI. He’s repaid Chris Wilder’s faith with a goal against Bournemouth, too.
Furthermore, Lys Mousset has continued to look a threat off the bench. The Frenchman’s impact, plus the January addition of Richairo Zivkovic, means there are now five strikers battling it out for two places.
McGoldrick, then, could well find himself fifth choice soon, depending, of course, how Zivkovic does when given the chance.
Still a key player
Despite falling behind others, there’s little doubt McGoldrick still has a part to play.
In some fans’ eyes he is still the player of the season for the Blades. Such was the quality he displayed before Christmas, it was hard to really select anyone else above him. Since then, others have indeed stepped up to the plate.
With three months of the season remaining, McGoldrick still has time on his side. That elusive goal will surely come before the season ends.
If not, he can still hold his head high, safe in the knowledge he’s played a key role in Sheffield United establishing themselves back in the top-flight.