Sheffield United key man opens up on contract hope after Chris Wilder's future hint ahead of big rebuild

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Chris Wilder has already indicated contract wish over “invaluable” Sheffield United utility man

Utility man Ben Osborn has opened up on his desire to remain at Sheffield United beyond the expiry of his current contract in the summer. The 29-year-old has been with the Blades since arriving from Nottingham Forest in the summer of 2019, and signed a new one-year deal in the summer.

Despite some fitness issues this season he has shown his worth in a variety of positions of late, operating both in midfield and at left wing-back in recent weeks with Max Low and Rhys Norrington-Davies injured and Yasser Larouci not able to complete 90 minutes due to his own lack of game-time. That combination of attitude, adaptability and ability led Wilder to recently admit that he is keen to keep Osborn at Bramall Lane beyond the summer, ahead of a likely return to the Championship and a huge squad rebuild.

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“He's been excellent since I came [back] in,” Wilder said earlier this month of Osborn. “I know what he's about, he's a team player. If he plays, he plays and if not he gives his best. Those are the players that are really invaluable to have around the place and do a job, wherever it is. We've spoken to Ben about extending. He's got an option on his contract and he's one we would like to work with next year.”

Although neither party has elaborated further on the terms of that option, the fact United and Osborn are in negotiations - rather than the option simply being exercised - could hint that a longer-term deal is being considered. Speaking after Saturday’s defeat at Brentford, which saw Osborn start in midfield before filling in at left wing-back after Larouci went off, he was asked if he would be at Bramall Lane next season and admitted: “I hope so. The gaffer’s spoken about potentially extending my option, so hopefully it’ll get sorted and I’ll be here for another year, at least.”

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The trip to Brentford’s new stadium was Osborn’s 129th appearance in United colours and his fourth start in the last five games, being rested to the bench for the trip to Liverpool before being introduced as a second-half substitute. Barring illness or injury this week he is expected to start again this weekend for a big clash against second-bottom Burnley at Bramall Lane, alongside youngster Ollie Arblaster who scored an unfortunate own goal at Brentford but has experienced an impressive start to life in the Premier League.

“That’s been the aim, to try and get back in the team,” he told SUTV. “I’ve had my injury issues but touch wood I feel alright at the moment. I’ve enjoyed playing next to Blaster, he’s a good little player and it’s been good talking him through the games.

“We were starting to build a good relationship down the left hand side but unfortunately we lost Robbo [captain Jack Robinson, out with an ankle injury]. Yasser came in today and did well, but the lack of game meant he couldn’t last the 90 so I had to fill in there again. So it has been good getting in there but always changing the personnel isn’t helping, really.”

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