Sheffield United: Jayden Bogle will bring a different dynamic if he is recalled to the starting XI
Both are talented footballers. Slavisa Jokanovic, the Sheffield United manager, would clearly be happy to select either after expressing his frustration at being forced to leave one of them out of his matchday squads earlier this term.
But George Baldock and Jayden Bogle also bring very different things to the party. Which, if United are forced to make a change at right-back following the international break, means Jokanovic and his coaching staff could be forced to implement a subtle change of approach for Stoke City’s visit to Bramall Lane later this month.
As The Star reported earlier this week, Bogle has been placed on standby for a recall to United’s starting eleven after Baldock limped-out of last weekend’s defeat at AFC Bournemouth with a suspected hamstring injury. Although the exact nature and extent of the problem the former MK Dons defender sustained is yet to be confirmed, it can be difficult to predict how long even minor tendon and muscle problems will take to heal.
Despite excelling in the 3-5-2 system employed by Jokanovic’s predecessor Chris Wilder, winning promotion from the Championship and then securing a ninth placed Premier League finish during his first three seasons at the club, defending is Baldock’s greatest strength.
Bogle, aged 21, provides more of an attacking threat. Signed at the beginning of last term, he scored three times in his first 10 appearances since leaving Derby County before United’s campaign totally collapsed. Baldock took 77 to reach the same tally.
But that part of Bogle’s game comes at a price, with Baldock providing greater solidity at the back. With Jokanovic switching to a back four, Bogle could be required to curb some of his attacking instincts in order to prevent opponents exploiting his lack of experience. As Birmingham City’s Maxime Colin reminded during their win at Bramall Lane two months ago, when he beat Ben Osborn to a cross before scoring the only goal of the game, there is a world of difference between a full-back and a wing-back. A midfielder by trade, Osborn has acquitted himself well when asked to perform as the latter. But Baldock or Enda Stevens, who was forced to sit out the contest because of a misdiagnosed injury, would have sensed the danger earlier and intervened.