Sheffield United: Amazing compliment from Croatia star is revealed

The compliment Filip Uremovic paid Sheffield United before taking part in what could be his final game for the club has been revealed by manager Paul Heckingbottom.

Thursday, 19th May 2022, 3:29 pm

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The Croatia defender, who moved to Bramall Lane on a short-term basis earlier this year after suspending his contract with Rubin Kazan, was an unused substitute during Tuesday’s visit to Nottingham Forest where Heckingbottom’s side crashed out of the play-offs on penalties.

But during a conversation with coaching staff following the final match of the regular season, which saw United thrash Championship title-winners Fulham 4-0, Uremovic admitted was perplexed why his teammates were involved in the end of term knockouts at all.

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Filip Uremovic joined Sheffield United on a short-term basis: Jonathan Moscrop/Sportimage

The compliment

“Filip said he didn’t see any difference between us, Fulham and Bournemouth, who we faced not so long ago and came second,” Heckingbottom told The Star. “He reckoned, genuinely, he thought there was nothing between any of us. That’s because he came here when the lads really picked up. When you consider the level he’s been involved at, it was a really good thing to hear.”

Heckingbottom, who led United from 16th to fifth in the table after being appointed six months ago, will hope that convinces Uremovic he could soon be competing at the highest level of English football if he remains in South Yorkshire.

Sheffield United were eventually beaten on penalties by Nottingham Forest: Simon Bellis / Sportimage

The politics

Although he is scheduled to return to Russia next month, it seems inconceivable that UEFA and FIFA will force overseas players based in the country to fulfil their contractual obligations whilst the war in neighbouring Ukraine is still raging.

The two governing bodies allowed Uremovic and other foreigners in the two countries to sever ties with their employers when Vladimir Putin ordered his forces to invade the former Soviet state. Croatia later withdrew staff from its embassy in Moscow while officials in Kazan were reportedly unhappy with Uremovic’s decision to leave.

Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom: Darren Staples / Sportimage

The issue

Capped six times by his country at senior level, the 25-year-old had been a longstanding target for United before joining them in March, with Heckingbottom admitting he had previously been beyond their financial reach.

“It was great to hear that from Filip,” Heckingbottom said. “It was a credit to the lads.”