Enda Stevens welcomes Sheffield United competition as he predicts Blades will "kick on"

Enda Stevens has welcomed the competition provided by Rhys Norrington-Davies for Sheffield United’s left-back spot, claiming the entire Blades squad will be required to play their part between now and the end of the season.

Tuesday, 26th October 2021, 6:00 am

Stevens has regained his place in the Blades’ starting XI after undergoing hernia surgery, with the young Welsh international starting Slavisa Jokanović’s reign in the team.

But Norrington-Davies has since suffered fitness issues of his own, with Stevens making his fifth consecutive start in Blades colours during Sunday’s 3-2 victory at rivals Barnsley.

“It's healthy for a squad,” Stevens said of the competition. “We needed it.

Sign up to our Sheffield United newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“It's going to be a squad game this season. There's a lot of games to be played, it's Saturday/Tuesday most weeks, and lads are going to pick up injuries along the way.

“So everyone's going to play their part and hopefully we can kick on as a squad.”

Earlier this season, Stevens revealed his frustration after his hernia issue was initially misdiagnosed as a different problem, admitting he felt “let down” and could have been available for selection months earlier if he did not have to undergo rehabilitation for an injury he didn’t actually have.

Enda Stevens of Sheffield United: Simon Bellis / Sportimage

“It was a long time out and we finally got to the bottom of the problem, so now I'm just looking to kick on,” Stevens added.

“There's still room for improvement, I'm still getting sharpness and fitness back.”

Stevens and the rest of United’s defenders are also getting to grips with a different system under their new boss, Jokanović. After initially sticking with the wing-back system employed by his predecessor Chris Wilder, the Serb has instead signalled his intention to play with a back four.

“It's different, obviously,” Stevens added.

“A back four is a lot different to a five. I played there a lot previous to United and it's just about remembering the good habits in a back four and the responsibilities. It's enjoyable.

“It’s a very tactical way of playing [under Jokanović] and it's new for us to understand, but it's enjoyable. It's front-foot, it's exciting and very possession based.

“I think when it clicks, we'll probably kick on massively.”