Sheffield United: Wilder won’t order Fleck to curb his aggressive instincts at Blades

John Fleck in action for Coventry City against United last season
John Fleck in action for Coventry City against United last season
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Chris Wilder will not order midfielder John Fleck to curb his aggressive instincts after welcoming him to Sheffield United last week.

Fleck, the former Rangers midfielder, joined United on a free transfer on Friday after leaving League One rivals Coventry City at the end of last season.

The 24-year-old Scot has been cautioned 33 times in the last three campaigns, and Blades boss Wilder admitted: “We don’t want anyone to shirk a tackle.

“At the same time, we don’t want players to pick up silly bookings but his record over the last few years shows he’s an aggressive player; a competitor who wants to win games.

“We’d rather it was like that than a player who doesn’t want to put his foot in, win headers and win games.

“John ticks all the boxes; he’s a competitor and that’s exactly the type of player we want.

“He’s one of the best midfielders in the league. I want my midfield players to be all-rounders - to chip in with a few goals and also put their foot in when needed - and John is just like that.”

Fleck, who sat out Saturday’s 5-0 friendly victory at Stocksbridge Park Steels, came close to joining United in 2011 before a loan deal from Rangers was scuppered due to administration problems.

The Glasgow-born midfielder has travelled to United’s training camp in La Manga alongside fellow summer signings Mark Duffy, Chris Hussey, Jack O’Connell and Jake Wright.

O’Connell sealed a move to Bramall Lane from Brentford on Friday, while Wright became the sixth player to join United since Wilder replaced Nigel Adkins at the helm.

The 30-year-old, who captained Oxford United to promotion last season, worked with Wilder at Halifax Town and Oxford and revealed: “The gaffer also tried to sign me a couple of other times for clubs he was at, but it just didn’t come off.

“He knows what I’m all about which puts me in a good position. There’s not as much pressure on me at the start.

“I know there’s no guarantees and it’ll be difficult to get in the team - but that’s exactly what you need.

“Two players for each position, and we’re nearly there.

“I hope to get in the team early on and if not, then I’ll work hard to make sure I do get in there.”