Sheffield United: Former Sheffield Wednesday star hailed by John Fleck as the perfect example to follow

The determination Gary Madine showed to win over Sheffield United supporters and help deliver Premier League football to Bramall Lane provides a lesson for his former team mates to follow as they attempt to return to the top-flight, midfielder John Fleck insisted last night.

Friday, 29th October 2021, 4:00 pm
Updated Friday, 29th October 2021, 4:46 pm

Having represented arch-rivals Sheffield Wednesday earlier in his career, Madine’s arrival at United provoked an outcry among large sections of their following when it was announced two years ago.

But speaking as he prepares to return to South Yorkshire with his present club Blackpool, Fleck has revealed his admiration for the way Madine went about appeasing those who objected to his loan move from Cardiff City - a process the centre-forward completed when he helped United, then managed by Chris Wilder, achieve promotion from the Championship.

“He was a massive part of what we achieved,” Fleck told The Star, hailing Madine’s contribution during his five month stay with United. “There was all of the things surrounding him at the start because he’d played for the other part of Sheffield.

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“All of the lads loved him and the fans, well, they ended up loving him as well. That shows the importance, what Gary did, about really buying into what a group is trying to do and working hard; really giving everything for the cause and laying it all on the line.”

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Madine scored three goals in 16 appearances for United before returning to Wales, eventually joining tomorrow afternoon’s visitors on a free transfer when his contract at City was cancelled by mutual consent.

United spent two seasons at the highest level before being relegated in April. Having appointed Slavisa Jokanovic as Wilder’s permanent successor a month later, although the Serb’s reign did not officially begin until July, they enter their meeting with Neil Critchley’s side in 14th but only three points behind sixth-placed Middlesbrough.

Gary Madine, previously of Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday, is set to return to Bramall Lane with Blackpool: James Wilson/Sportimage

Acknowledging consistency has been an issue as they adapt to Jokanovic’s methods - “But I’m loving the way we are working” - Fleck said: “It’s been a mixed back from me to be honest. But the main thing is working hard and always giving your absolute best, which I do. It’s all about sticking together as a group, which I’ve mentioned, and staying tight together.”

John Fleck, the Sheffield United midfielder, admired Gary Madine's determination: Andrew Yates / Sportimage
Gary Madine played for Sheffield Wednesday before his move to Sheffield United: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images
Gary Madine joined Sheffield United on loan from Cardiff City and helped them win promotion to the Premier League: Simon Bellis/Sportimage