Sheffield United: Ethan Ebanks-Landell situation is out of our hands, admits Blades' Alan Knill
He has captured the hearts and minds of the Bramall Lane support, become a new terrace hero and a version of a festive Wham! hit has even been adapted in his honour.
Only time will tell if this is Ethan Ebanks-Landell’s Last Christmas as a Sheffield United player, with the change of manager at his parent club Wolves only complicating matters.
Paul Lambert, who took over from Walter Zenga at Molineux, watched the 23-year-old defender for the first time last week as United lost 1-0 at home to Walsall and will shortly have a decision to make.
Ebanks-Landell’s season-long loan deal has a January recall clause, and Wolves have the option to extend his contract in the West Midlands for another year.
The situation is an interesting sub-plot to United’s promotion bid, and Ebanks-Landell has been a big part of their march to third in League One - and to within two points of the automatic promotion places.
Alan Knill, the United assistant manager, admits that they’ve received no feedback on the defender from Lambert and his coaching staff and admits: “It’s just one of those things that we can’t do anything about, really.
“He’s doing fantastically well for us, and their manager might see the level that Wolves are playing at and hopefully decide he’s not going to go back and play in their first team, so we’ll see.
“But in the meantime, we can’t do anything about it. He’s a Wolves player, and that’s the unfortunate bit about the situation.”
For his part, Ebanks-Landell is keen to remain in South Yorkshire. He featured just once for Wolves’ U23s, in the Checkatrade Trophy, this season after breaking a bone in his foot back in March, but has played 15 times - scoring four goals - for United.
“If it’s up to me then, yes, I’d love to stay until the end of the season,” he told The Star last month.
“I’m enjoying my football and wherever I’m enjoying my football is where I want to be.
“I’m contracted to Wolves and so it’s down to them. But, personally, I’d like to see it through here.”
Against Walsall, with Lambert in the stands, Ebanks-Landell and Chris Basham were caught out by a ball over the top for Amadou Bakayoko’s winner. It was Ebanks-Landell’s first defeat in a United shirt and ended the hosts’ 15-game unbeaten run in the league but, if it keeps their terrace hero at Bramall Lane until May, United’s supporters will see it as a small price to pay.