The beginning of the decade saw the Blades fell into League One having spent much of the last two decades in the top two divisions. A humiliating relegation to League One was met by a humiliating six-year endeavour to try and get out of the division. However, come the end of the decade they sat eighth in the Premier League and on the verge of a European place. After an up and down ten years, the Sheffield United team of the decade has proved difficult to pick.
Sheffield United Team of the Decade
Goalkeeper – Dean Henderson
A return to the Premier League, arguably, would not have been achieved without Dean Henderson.
The on-loan Manchester United goalkeeper featured in all 46 games for Chris Wilder’s side last season as they were promoted from the Championship. He kept 21 clean sheets in the process, conceding just 41 times.
His impressive form led to many believing that he would be understudy to David de Gea at Old Trafford this season. However, he returned to Bramall Lane last summer and has continued his excellent form ever since.
Right Wing-Back – George Baldock
Another player who has helped with the club’s monumental rise over the past three years.
George Baldock made the move to Bramall Lane as the club returned to the Championship. Having spent the majority of his career at League One, the 27-year-old made a comfortable transition into the higher division.
As United embarked on a new era, Baldock’s place in the side was under threat. However, he made a smooth transition once more, and has been one of the club’s best players this season.
Left Wing-Back – Enda Stevens
Enda Stevens made the jump from League Two to the Championship when Chris Wilder’s side finally won promotion from League One.
It is a jump that so many players fail to make. The 29-year-old was by no means a standout player for his previous club Portsmouth. As a result, his 120 appearances for the club to date made the move seem all the more worthwhile.
Stevens, like many of his current team-mates, fits his manager’s style of play perfectly. His marauding runs down the left flank help create the free-flowing football that they have become known for.
Centre-Back – Chris Basham
The ever-reliable 31-year-old is another to have seen both highs and lows at Bramall Lane in their remarkable journey under manager Chris Wilder.
Chris Basham has proven to be a key player in Wilder’s overlapping centre-back system, using his ability to bombard forward with the ball. Much like his team-mates, he has taken to the top-flight like a duck to water, featuring in every game so far this season.
While he is not the one to grab headlines, Basham’s hard work and reliability is what has earned him a place in the Sheffield United team of the decade.
Centre-Back – Harry Maguire
Harry Maguire, despite his young age, impressed at the heart of defence during his period with the club.
Having come through their academy, the now-England international made his debut towards the end of the 2010/11 season for United as an 18-year-old.
Their relegation to League One that season meant he became a first-team regular. The towering centre-back had made 56 appearances by the end of his full season, paying testament to the faith shown in him. By the time that he departed Bramall Lane, Maguire had won the club’s Player of the Year awards three years in a row.
Centre-Back – Jack O’Connell
Another member of the current Sheffield United side. Another who has seen the club rise from the depths of League One to the heights of the Premier League.
Jack O’Connell’s rise to the top of English football has run parallel with the club’s success. Since joining from Brentford in 2016, the 25-year-old has made 170 appearances for Wilder’s side, including every league game so far this season for the Blades.
O’Connell’s form so far this season has seen touted for a potential England call-up, as well as a potential move to a top-six side, showing just how good he has been for the Yorkshire side across the last four years.
Midfielder – David Brooks
The young Welshman might have spent just two seasons with the club, but he oozed class and a calm presence on the ball going forward.
David Brooks’ breakthrough season came in the 2017/18 campaign. While he made his debut the season before, it was the club’s return to the Championship where he kicked on.
Three goals and five assists in 33 appearances do not tell the full story. The youngster’s skill and strength on the ball was what stood out for those who watched him week in, week out, as well as his ability to create chances out of nowhere.
Midfielder – Mark Duffy
Another attacking midfielder that was instrumental in helping the club rise through the divisions.
Duffy’s success during the title-winning campaign of 2016/17 saw him named in the PFA Team of the Year for League One. He registered six goals in 42 appearances, as well as laying on ten goals for his team-mates.
That form continued into the Championship, where he helped his side earn promotion to the Premier League at the second attempt. The midfielder proved to be yet another vital cog in the machine at Bramall Lane.
Midfielder – John Fleck
One of the Blades’ standout players this season, John Fleck could be a contender for Player of the Decade at Bramall Lane.
Fleck did not standout at previous clubs. Yet, like several other members of this side, he slotted in perfectly to Chris Wilder’s side. During his first season with the club, the 28-year-old recorded 17 assists, the best in League One that year.
As the Scotsman has ridden the journey alongside United, his career has progressed magnificently and he has become recognised as one of the most underrated midfielder’s in the top-flight this season.
Striker – Billy Sharp
Mr. Sheffield United had to make the team of the decade.
Having returned to the club in 2015, Billy Sharp has made 197 across his four-and-a-half-year tenure with the Blades, scoring 93 times. Without his goals in the two recent promotion seasons, the club would not be where they are today.
As the now 34-year-old scored the club’s first goal of the season in a 1-1 draw with Bournemouth, it embodied the struggle and determination that his side had been through on their way back to the promised land.
Striker – Lys Mousset
While he has only been at the club for a little over six months, Lys Mousset has shown great potential in his time with Sheffield United so far.
The Frenchman has caught attention this season having been given a second chance by Chris Wilder. Mousset had not impressed during his time with Bournemouth, and many were unsure as to whether he would make it as a Premier League footballer.
However, five goals and four assists so far this season has shown the 24-year-old can replace the ageing Billy Sharp.
Substitutes: Simon Moore, Kieron Freeman, John Egan, John Lundstram, Oliver Norwood, Kevin McDonald, David McGoldrick,
Manager – Chris Wilder
The manager of the decade for Sheffield United had to be Chris Wilder. A lifelong fan of the club, their meteoric rise could not have been done without him and his overlapping centre-back tactics.
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