Sheffield United: Adlene Guedioura is hailed as the ultimate professional after helping The Blades even before he signed a contract
Slavisa Jokanovic, the Sheffield United manager, has cited Adlene Guedioura’s professionalism as one of the reasons why he wanted to bring him to Bramall Lane after the Algeria international signed a one year contract with the Championship club.
As The Star first reported following Jokanovic’s appointment in May, the Serb’s respect for Guedioura meant they always appeared destined to work together again following spells at Watford and Al-Gharafa.
Capped more than 60 times by his country and a reigning African Cup of Nations champion, Guedioura spent three weeks working at United’s training complex before being officially unveiled ahead of tonight’s game against Preston North End.
Despite being ineligible for selection until now, Jokanovic explained the 35-year-old has already made a positive impression behind the scenes after helping ensure his new teammates were mentally and physically prepared for last weekend’s 6-2 win over Peterborough - their first league success of the new campaign.
Revealing why he petitioned United’s board to offer Guedioura a deal following his departure from Qatar earlier this summer, Jokanovic said: “He (Guedioura) is champion of one continent. He isn’t like my friend or my brother but he is a guy with a lot of experience and a lot of battles behind him.
“Even without a contract, he helped and supported us a lot. That tells you a lot about him, about his personality and how he is.
“What he can offer us on the field is someone who can be a holding midfielder, someone who can play box to box and who can also score goals.
“What is ahead of us, with a very busy period coming up, he can show us that value in the months ahead.”
Guedioura, who has also represented Crystal Palace, Middlesbrough and Nottingham Forest during his previous spells in England, won promotion from the second tier under Jokanovic at Vicarage Road.
“I’ve known him (Jokanovic) for a long time,” Guedioura said. “We’ve been successful before and it’s good to have a manager who has let me come here and given me this opportunity. I hope to repay him as soon as I start.”
“He knows the league well and he’s been promoted twice,” Guideioura continued, reminding how Jokanovic also steered Fulham into the top-flight. “He knows what this league, the second toughest in the world I think, is all about.
“There are a lot of games, and a lot of good teams who can go up. The manager knows as well, with the players we have. That we can also make it.”
Although Guedioura is unlikely to start against North End, he could play a prominent role over the coming weeks as United attempt to navigate their way through a congested period of the fixture schedule which also includes a Carabao Cup tie against Southampton.
“Listen, this is about football and the starting eleven is not always the same,” Jokanovic said. “And even if it is, take Liverpool, where everyone knows the starting eleven very well, but you also have to look at the people behind them.
“A lot of the most important jobs being done, the ones that create the right ambience, are happening behind the screen. We need to build and maintain the right ambience here and Adlene, like others, is someone who can do that.”