Sheffield United: ‘Gary Madine gets what makes our club tick’
Gary Madine's understanding of what Sheffield United supporters want to see from their players can help him become a crowd favourite at Bramall Lane, Chris Wilder has claimed.
The former Sheffield Wednesday and Bolton Wanderers centre-forward, once an unpopular figure among his new club's following, received a standing ovation from the home crowd after scoring twice during the 4-0 win over Reading.
Madine's brace, his first goals since arriving on loan from Cardiff City, helped United climb to second in the Championship table ahead of Saturday's visit to fellow promotion contenders West Bromwich Albion.
But it is the 28-year-old's work ethic and unselfish approach which Wilder believes has won over the fans.
Highlighting Madine's determination to see fellow striker Scott Hogan mark his debut with a goal, the United manager said: "Supporters, especially our supporters, take to players who work hard and graft, who want to be team players and he is certainly one of those.
"There was a few times when he could have been selfish but he tried to put Scott in. That, for me, tells you a lot.
"Gaz puts a shift in and he gives his absolute all out there. That's what being a Sheffield United player is all about.
"All of the lads we've brought in, including Scott and Kieran (Dowell) 'get' the club. You always have individuals within a group. I've maintained all along that I don't want 'yes men' or robots. They're not. But they do have to be all in."
Madine doubled United's lead against José Manuel Gomes' side after Kieron Freeman had pounced less than a minute after kick-off before hitting the target again just before the break. John Fleck also found the back of the net as United climbed above Leeds although Marcelo Bielsa's men have a match in hand.
Insisting he always suspected Madine would prove a hit at United, despite previously going over 12 months without a goal, Wilder also explained the striker's experience of reaching the Premier League with City could prove invaluable during the remaining 13 matches.
"He's gone a long time without a regular game, you can look at it from that point of view," Wilder said. "Cardiff got promotion with Gaz being in and around it.
"He's desperate to score and he's desperate to help us out. That's great for me. He contributes. There's a lot more to his game, he's got a lot more attributes, other than just scoring though."
With defenders Chris Basham and Jack O'Connell both missing the meeting with Reading and last week's victory over Middlesbrough due to suspension and injury respectively, were also without George Baldock (calf) for their clash with the 2017 play-off finalists.
"Everybody has had a little bit of a peek at us," Wilder said. "They'll have been saying 'Oh, Chris Basham is out. Oh, Jack O'Connell is out. Oh, George Baldock is off.' People will have been saying 'let's have a look at them now.' The only place you can answer it is out there on the pitch."