He has successfully pitted his wits against the likes of Fabian Delph and Andy Reid en route to tomorrow’s FA Cup semi-final.
But Michael Doyle, Sheffield United’s captain and midfielder, believes Tom Huddlestone could prove his toughest opponents yet.
Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s meeting with Hull City at Wembley stadium, Doyle said: “Tom Huddlestone is a good player. In Hull’s season, he has had a lot of the plaudits and has done really well.
“But I would say their midfield is strong as a whole. (David) Meyler is a good player and so is (Jake) Livermore. They are Premier League players and have that quality.
“People talk about him (Huddlestone) for a World Cup spot and this will be a good stage for him to do well. But, equally, it is a stage for us to show what we can do.”
Nigel Clough, the United manager, acknowledged during Thursday’s media briefing at the Redtooth Academy that Steve Bruce’s side will be most observers’ favourites to meet either Arsenal or Wigan Athletic, who play their semi-final later today, in next month’s showpiece.
But, dismissing suggestions that his words should be interpreted as a sign that United are content to simply enjoy their moment in the spotlight, the former England international challenged his squad to display the same positive attitude which has seen them account for Aston Villa and Fulham in previous rounds.
Doyle continued: “The manager wants us to be positive. That sets the tone.
“He said similar things before Villa and I thought we took our lead from that to get a deserved win.
“It will be a different game now but, hopefully, we can give a good account of ourselves. We will have to soak things up because Hull are a good side. But we have shown that won’t be a problem.”
United have won three of their eight matches since beating Charlton Athletic in the quarter-finals, conceding only five goals in the process.
“There has been such a big gap after Charlton but it is finally here now,” Doyle said. “If we win, this will definitely top anything in my career.
“I’ve had some good times in the cups but that would be something else. No-one wants to go all the way to Wembley and get torn a hole. We have to give a good account of ourselves and put in a good performance. That is what we have done so far in the cup and got through. To do that again would be great.”