Sheffield United: New boy has point to prove

Michael Higdon  - Sheffield United ''� copyright :  BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY
Michael Higdon - Sheffield United ''� copyright : BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY
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Michael Higdon last night revealed he has “unfinished business” with English football after becoming Sheffield United’s tenth summer signing.

The centre-forward, who completed a permanent transfer from NEC Nijmegen yesterday, is expected to make his debut for Nigel Clough’s side during this weekend’s League One opener against Bristol City at Bramall Lane.

Despite averaging a goal every 2.85 games during spells with Falkirk, St Mirren and Motherwell, Higdon told The Star he is intent on making a big impression south of the border seven years after leaving Crewe Alexandra.

“I’ve got unfinished business here,” Higdon said. “I’m an English lad but I’ve spent most of my career playing elsewhere so now I want to do it on home soil as it were.

“I’m confident I can do that because football is the same wherever you play it. The pitch is the same, you’re bound by the same rules and, as a striker, your job is always to score goals.

“Going abroad was a big experience for me and I had to adjust to a different language, culture and way of doing things. But, ultimately, your aims are still the same.”

Higdon, who was born in Liverpool, hit the target 14 times for the Dutch club last term.

“Going to Holland taught me a lot,” he added. “The best lesson was probably the demands of the fans because they are really passionate and intense.

“That should stand me in really good stead here because Sheffield United, without a shadow of a doubt, are the biggest club that I’ve played for.

“There’s an ambition here and that was a massive thing for me. I’ve come because of the team and the manager because there were plenty of opportunities elsewhere.

“I’ve always worked hard and that’s culminated in me coming to a place like this. Now I’ve got to carry on doing the same, working hard, trying to get into the starting 11 and scoring goals because, if we do that and we’re winning, then everything else takes care of itself.”

Higdon, aged 30, is contracted to United until at least 2016 after they paid an undisclosed fee to secure his release from the Stadion de Goffert. However, that could be extended for a further 12 months if, as Clough suspects, he reproduces the talent which saw him named as the PFA Scotland Players’ Player of the Year before leaving Fir Park.

“The good thing about Michael is that he scores all sorts of goals,” Clough said. “He’s a character and I think he’s someone that the fans here will really take to and rally around because of the way he approaches things.

“We hope that’s going to be the case and we’re really looking forward to working with him. Michael is at exactly the right age but the biggest factor for us is his consistent track record of scoring goals.”

“Michael has done that in Holland, which is a very technical competition, and he’s done that in the Scottish Premier League,” Clough added. “He knows a few of the lads here, Jamie Murphy from their time at Motherwell together and also Stephen McGinn and Mark Howard, so that was another positive aspect for us.

“Basically, though, it’s his all-round game and record in from of the net.”

Higdon said: “I can’t wait to get out there in front of the United fans because, from coming here before, I know how good they are.”