Sheffield United: Kyle’s calming influence

Kyle McFadzean (right) started his career with Sheffield United
Kyle McFadzean (right) started his career with Sheffield United
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Callum McFadzean, the Sheffield United midfielder, is eternally grateful to his brother Kyle for delivering a constant stream of invaluable advice but still hopes he finds himself on the wrong end of a hiding tonight.

“He’s brilliant with me and a really great player,” Callum, speaking ahead of this evening’s visit of Crawley Town, told The Star. “So while I’m sure he’s going to have a top game, I won’t mind at all if he scores a few unfortunate own goals and gets beat because that means we’ll be off and running.”

Kyle, seven years Callum’s senior, is a key member of the Town squad which arrives at Bramall Lane hoping to prolong United’s difficult start to the League One season and extend its unbeaten run to six games in the process.

He also graduated from the South Yorkshire club’s renowned academy before, by his own admission, a lack of focus forced him to pursue a career elsewhere.

But Callum’s continued presence means he retains a vested interest in United’s affairs.

“Kyle rings me up all the time, telling me what to do and what not to do,” Callum said. “I appreciate it probably more than I tell him and always take it on board.

“He’s in the same business and has been in my situation before so he knows the challenges you face and what you have to do to improve.

“I always have a joke with Kyle about him ‘going on’ at me all the time but, seriously, I value what he says so much and wouldn’t want it any other way.

“It means a lot because I know he does it because he wants the best for me and to see me do well.”

An ankle injury sustained in training means Callum, who has established himself as regular member of United’s senior squad since David Weir’s appointment last summer, is expected to be declared ineligible for selection.

But while the 19-year-old made no attempt to hide his disappointment - “I’m gutted because it was the first game I looked for when the fixtures came out” - at least mother Tracey has been spared the unenviable choice of deciding which son to support.

“She probably wouldn’t have known what to do,” Callum joked earlier this week. “She’ll have wanted us both to do well but now I look like I might not be playing I’m sure it’s going to be a bit easier for her.

“Personally speaking, it would have been brilliant to get out there against Kyle because, apart from the odd kick-about when we were younger, I’ve never faced him in a competitive situation before.

“Mind you, I hate missing any game. Especially when we are in the position we are in because I just want to go out there and help us get back on track.

“It’s horrible being sat in the stands watching because I want to try and play my part, do whatever I can to make sure we start climbing up the division and getting the right results.

“But I suppose dealing with situations like this is all part and parcel of being a footballer.”

Cue more wise words from Kyle.

“Even when I’m not involved, he will still get in touch,” Callum continued. “He’ll tell me ‘If I was in your position and hadn’t played, I’d go to the gym and do a session to keep sharp and in shape.’

“Obviously, when you’re injured it’s different because you stick to a programme. But Kyle will tell me things that help keep me concentrated and in good spirits all the time.

“I love knowing that I’ve got his support. And the things he tells me are really useful too.”

Town, where Kyle has enjoyed two promotions since moving to Broadfield Stadium in 2010, travelled north yesterday hoping to repeat their victory in the corresponding fixture last season; a result which cost Danny Wilson, Weir’s predecessor, his job.

The former Scotland international enters only the third meeting between these two teams - United triumphed in west Sussex 10 months ago - also under intense pressure with his team entering tonight’s fixture bottom of the table and having suffered four consecutive defeats.

However, last weekend’s performance at Wolverhampton Wanderers suggested progress is being made.

“Nobody enjoys the results,” Callum said. “That goes without saying but we’ve been putting in good displays and you can’t keep on doing that and not get a break.

“The style the manager and his staff are getting us to play is enjoyable and, I think, suits the lads here. We enjoy playing like we are much more than some of the ways we have in the past although that’s not a criticism.

“We’ve just got to make sure we start getting the right results as well. I’m sure, when we do, a lot more are going to follow on the back of achieving that.”