Sheffield United: Lys Mousset receives an ultimatum despite being told 'You can be one of the best in the business'
Lys Mousset has been reminded he can become one of Sheffield United’s most important players and reach the highest level of the English game - but only if he shows greater professionalism and dedicates himself properly to his craft.
Slavisa Jokanovic, the United manager, heaped praise on the French centre-forward’s ability after watching him score during the comeback win over Stoke City at Bramall Lane.
But the Serb’s assessment of Mousset’s performance - and his potential - also contained an ultimatum: ‘Smarten up or risk wasting your talent.’
“Lys has improved and we consider him a very good player,” Jokanovic told The Star, after giving the 25-year-old a chance to salvage his United career during pre-season. “We demand from him and we push him.
“But from another side, I need more cooperation from his side. If he can help himself, then he can help us a lot. He is a nice guy with a great personality. But if he has a bright mind, then he will realise he also needs to help himself more and also his profession.”
Jokanovic was referring to the personal issues which have overshadowed Mousset’s time at United following his £10m move from AFC Bournemouth. Viewed as one of the most naturally gifted individuals within their squad, the former France under-21 international netted five times in his first 10 appearances for the club after joining them ahead of the 2019/20 Premier League campaign. But after frustrating Jokanovic’s predecessor Chris Wilder with his fitness and conditioning, Mousset has since become better known for his exploits off the pitch than on it. Earlier this year, he was banned from driving after writing-off his sports car during a crash near the city centre and made only 13 appearances in all competitions last term as United were relegated from the top-flight.
Despite suspicions that Mousset’s lifestyle choices have contributed to his poor injury record, Jokanovic chose to persevere after being appointed in July. However, after starting United’s game against Birmingham City on the opening weekend of the Championship campaign, a hamstring injury ruled Mousset out of action until their visit to AFC Bournemouth before the recent international break. The strike against Stoke, which cancelled out Jacob Brown’s opener before fellow substitute David McGoldrick netted the winner, was his first in United colours for 15 months.
“I like Lys,” Jokanovic said. “In 10 years time, if he looks after himself and does these things, then he will be able to look back on some excellent things I am sure. He can have that career. But only if he helps himself more. If he does that, then we will do whatever we can to help him.”
United return to action when they face Millwall tomorrow, with Mousset and McGoldrick challenging captain Billy Sharp and Oli McBurnie for the right to spearhead Jokanovic’s attack.
Reflecting on the victory over Stoke, Jokanovic said: “It should, because of the quality of the opposition, do our belief and confidence a lot of goo. But now we are not thinking about Stoke, just the next game.”