From midfield to wing-back and then finally striker, writes James Shield, Rinus Michels would be proud.
Matt Done might hail from the border town of Oswestry rather than Amsterdam. But his career path could have been torn straight from the pages of the late, great Dutchman’s coaching manual.
“I’ve played pretty much everywhere in the last couple of years and, although it probably is a bit unusual, it’s not really something I’ve thought about too much. The ball is still round, the pitch is the same and the ball is still round so, when you put it like that, it’s not really such a big deal.”
The former Rochdale centre-forward underlined the ease with which he has moved around the pitch by marking his Sheffield United debut with a goal during Tuesday evening’s victory over Colchester. The finish - an angled drive across Sam Walker - was surpassed only by the quality of the assist from Bob Harris. But Done, who enters tomorrow’s game against League One leaders Bristol City searching for his 16th in 32 outings, cut a phlegmatic figure afterwards.
“I’ve played against a lot of these boys before throughout the divisions so I know how good they are. That pass from Bob was just a moment of individual brilliance and shows the quality he’s got.
“Michael Doyle was great, Paul Coutts and Jose Baxter too. I’m looking forward to building partnerships with them all.
“I wanted to hit the ground running but I had a little niggle when I first came in.
“There was a little bit of pressure going out there but the pressure of playing in front of 17,000 people, well, you’ve got to enjoy it and I did. Hopefully that pressure will bring even more out of me.”
Done is used to being out of his comfort zone. Having returned to Spotland two years ago via Barnsley and a loan spell at Hibernian, Keith Hill, a manager known for employing some off-the-wall methods, was responsible for his latest positional switch.
“I was a winger to begin with but then Chris Beech, Keith’s assistant, always reckoned I’d make a good defender,” Done explained. “So, one day, that’s where I went and things turned-out pretty well.
“Then, because we had a few injuries I think, Keith asked if I could play as a striker. I replied I’d give it a go and, again, it went well so that’s where I’ve stayed.
“I do work on my shooting and stuff like that but, being honest, I’ve always done that anyway because whatever your position, you never know when a chance might pop up.”
“To get a win on your debut is special and to score topped it off,” Done added. “To see the lads in the dressing room afterwards and the gaffer being over the moon was brilliant.
“It’s been quite a good season on a personal level so my confidence is quite high anyway. But massive credit has got to go to the lads because they’ve made me feel a part of it from the off.
“The same goes for the staff here too because they’ve given me this opportunity. To represent Sheffield United is an honour but I’m not going to deny that he (Clough) was a massive pull too. When you think of his name, his experience and the player he was, I think I can learn so much.”
United travel to Ashton Gate placed sixth in the table and hoping to avenge their 2-1 defeat when these teams last met on the opening day of the present campaign. With Michael Higdon nursing a hamstring complaint and Marc McNulty still adjusting to life in England, Done’s arrival is designed to reinvigorate an attack which, averaging 1.33 goals per game this term, stands accused of being the weakpoint in an otherwise impressive armoury.
Clough described Done as “a real pest” after watching him score the second of United’s four goals against the visitors from Essex and the 26-year-old said: “I’ve been called a lot worse then a pest. At Rochdale, the staff called me The Seagull because of the way I swooped!
“But I’ll take that as a compliment because, if the opposition come off and they haven’t noticed me, I haven’t done my job have I?”