Sheffield United defender blasts Second Season Syndrome claims, saying - 'The only time I hear it mentioned is by journalists'

John Egan has brushed aside a suggestion that Sheffield United’s players are concerned about the possibility of contracting ‘Second Season Syndrome’ - insisting the only time he ever hears about the issue is “during interviews” with journalists.

Sunday, 20th September 2020, 12:46 pm

A representative from one of the Premier League’s media rights holders asked the United centre-half about the disease, which supposedly strikes down clubs who exceed expectations after initially returning to the top-flight, ahead of tomorrow evening’s visit to Aston Villa - where Chris Wilder’s side hope to bounce back from last week’s defeat by Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Egan’s response - emphatically shutting down that line of questioning by revealing “The lads never mention it” - provided an insight into the mentality the Republic of Ireland international and his colleague have adopted since finishing ninth last term.

“People are quick to comment,” he said. “All I hear about is ‘Second Season Syndrome’, that’s all I get asked about during interviews at the moment.

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“I don’t know anything about ‘Second Season Syndrome’. I haven’t done my research. What I have researched is Aston Villa. And what I heard last season, after we’d just come up, was that we were definitely going straight back down again. We ended up coming ninth, if I remember right.”

Both Egan and his manager made no secret of the fact they felt much of the reaction to their loss to Wolves - a team many believe can challenge for a Champions League place - lacked perspective when they previewed the trip to the West Midlands on Saturday morning.

Wilder, who confirmed United sustained no fresh injuries during Thursday’s Carabao Cup tie with Burnley, acknowledged survival remains his squad’s man objective - “The same as it was last year” - while Egan explained the meeting with opponents who have spent heavily during the summer transfer window is “the only thing we’re looking at.”

“No one cares about last year, do they,” he continued. “It’s all about now. That’s the way we look at things here. It’s all about Monday. You have to keep trying to raise the bar and that’s the aim. All we do, all we’ve ever done, is look at the next game.

John Egan says the only thing Sheffield United have been talking about over the weekend is Aston Villa: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

“Honestly, nobody talks about ‘Second Season Syndrome’ and all of that stuff when we have lunch or whatever. It never gets mentioned. It’s usually Bash (Chris Basham) telling a few jokes.”

United have also refreshed their options, with the likes of Aaron Ramsdale, Oliver Burke, Max Lowe and Jayden Bogle arriving at Bramall Lane.

“The new lads have had a really positive impact,” Egan said. “The level in training has really stepped up a notch. We have a group of lads here who want to get better. There’s no bitterness when people come in to compete. It’s just another player who wants to do well and who plays for the team isn’t it.

“That’s the model most football clubs use. We all get on well on and off the pitch. It’s all about trying to get better.”

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