Sheffield United: Could Liverpool defender's Ben Davies' place be under threat when he recovers from illness?

Slavisa Jokanovic has admitted he understands the clamour for Chris Basham to feature in Sheffield United’s starting eleven on a more consistent basis.

Friday, 5th November 2021, 3:58 pm

A member of the squads which gained promotion from both League One and the Championship under former manager Chris Wilder, Basham has been used sparingly since Jokanovic’s appointment in May.

Speaking as the defender prepares to make only his sixth league start of the season when United visit Blackburn Rovers tomorrow, Jokanovic told The Star he sympathises with those who want Basham to be handed more game-time in order to lower the possibility of him leaving Bramall Lane next summer.

Praising Basham’s conduct during what he acknowledged will have been a difficult period for the 33-year-old, Jokanovic said: “Of course, I know people have sympathy towards one very long serving player. I know why.

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Ben Davies joined Sheffield United on loan from Liverpool: Simon Bellis / Sportimage

“Honestly, the good thing is he shows the same desire all the way through. And that shows me that I can count on him.”

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Despite impressing Jokanovic with his attitude, Basham’s performance during Tuesday’s draw with Nottingham Forest will have done more to catch the Serb’s attention than his behaviour around the training ground.

Sheffield United defender Chris Basham is hoping to win back his place in the starting eleven with another solid display, this time against Blackburn Rovers: Simon Bellis / Sportimage

After arriving on loan from Liverpool, Ben Davies was handed the job of partnering John Egan at the heart of United’s rearguard amid suspicions he was better suited to playing in a back four than Basham - who excelled in the back three preferred by Jokanovic’s predecessor Wilder. But with Davies ruled-out because of a non Covid-19 related viral infection, Basham acquitted himself well in the east Midlands.

Another solid display against Rovers could see Jokanovic give serious consideration to continuing with Basham when Davies is eventually passed fit.

“Daily, Chris is pushing in the right direction, always trying and showing support for his team mates,” Jokanovic said. “In this game, in a different situation, he showed that he can participate. Every time he plays, he does acceptably good work.”

"That is what I expect from everyone in our squad,” he added. “He shows that he does not believe a season is over because he spends some time in the stands.”