Samir Carruthers has been backed to shine for Sheffield United in the Championship next season - by arguably the player who knows him best.
Carruthers and George Baldock spent three years together at MK Dons before the former made the move to Bramall Lane in January.
Last week, they were reunited again when Baldock signed a three-year deal with Chris Wilder’s United and the 24-year-old told The Star: “I sounded out Samir a little bit about coming here, and Jake Wright was my skipper at Oxford. They’re two really good guys but I’d be lying if I said I needed to scout the club too much, it speaks for itself really.
“Samir loves it, he says it’s a great group of lads and he loves the fans. He’s a good player, too, so I’m looking forward to playing alongside him next season.”
Baldock and Carruthers remain close - the midfielder posted “Buzzing that one of my closest friends has become a Blade. Know he’s going to love the club and be a ledge player for us,” on Instagram - and Baldock gave a ringing endorsement of his pal as they both gear up for a return to the Championship.
“I think Samir was unfortunate with an injury on his debut [at Southend] which held him back a bit, but it’s a massive pre-season for him,” Baldock added.
“Technically, he’s one of the best I’ve ever seen. He can use both feet, has great close control, is very strong and quick off the mark, too.
“He’s not known for his pace so much but his power from a standing start is very good. He’s just a very good player, and Sheffield United have done well to get him because he’s a great talent.”
And, it transpires, a dream to play alongside, too.
“Yeah, he’s great for a full back,” Baldock smiled.
“He always wants the ball under pressure, even when he’s got two players up his back. And he plays the game like he’s enjoying it, too; he won’t just stroll around. He’s a very, very good player and I’m sure the manager here will get the best out of him.”
Meanwhile, The Star understands that rumours of an imminent return for former Blade Phil Jagielka, now of Everton, are wide of the mark. Wilder has based his recruitment strategy so far on signing young players on the way up, and is also keen to not disrupt the pay structure at Bramall Lane. The former England international turns 35 in August.