Alan Biggs: Sander Berge proving his worth but let's not forget stand-ins who stood up at Sheffield United
If you’d have asked this column, pre lockdown, which were the main driving pistons of Sheffield United it would have said John Fleck and Jack O’Connell, in either order.
If you’d have asked which players Chris Wilder could least afford to lose it would have said Jack O’Connell and John Fleck.
Outside of goalkeeper Dean Henderson, that is.
That the Blades have got back on track without both Fleck and O’Connell in their starting line-up says everything about the whole being more important than the individual in this squad.
The way the team plays hasn’t been compromised, the style is unchanging. Players have stepped up in terms of reliability, drive and creativity.
So step forward Jack Robinson, after such a long wait, in place of O’Connell (now fit and back from the bench at Burnley) and the equally patient Ben Osborn.
Both have shown the value of their acquisitions, especially as the cover in the squad is not that deep and keeping the main players generally fit has been and remains vital.
But no one has made up for this particular shortfall more than Sander Berge. Wow, what a player he now looks, making a nonsense of those random early judgments on the Blades’ £22m record signing.
So strong on and off the ball, positive in thought and execution, a real power going forward.
Along with the ongoing and obvious development of Oli McBurnie up front, these two are starting to punch their weight big style.
Which is another plus for the harmony in the squad because I’m always told players never resent the bigger earners if they show why in their performance levels.
Both are setting examples but then so are Osborn and Robinson.
The wider picture is that United are showing all the hallmarks of their traditional quick fire responses to any blips in form over the past four seasons.
As was the case pre-lockdown, they appear to be getting back in the groove.