Sheffield United midfielder makes a big Chris Wilder admission and talks about his future at Bramall Lane
Luke Freeman has set his sights on winning a place in Sheffield United’s starting eleven next season, after insisting the tactics adopted by Slavisa Jokanovic suit him better than those employed by the Serb’s predecessor Chris Wilder.
The midfielder, who has entered the final year of his contract at Bramall Lane, believes that Jokanovic’s appointment has provided him with a fresh start following two difficult seasons in South Yorkshire.
Signed from Queens Park Rangers following United’s promotion to the Premier League in 2019, Freeman made only 16 appearances during his first 12 months with the club before spending last term on loan with Nottingham Forest.
Reflecting on Jokanovic’s appointment, United’s relegation from the top-flight and what proved to be an injury hit spell at the City Ground, Freeman told The Star he now wants to remain at Bramall Lane and earn a new deal under the former Watford and Fulham manager.
“Definitely,” he said, “I’ve got to take it as it comes because I’ve got a year left and it’s a fresh start.
“It’s a fresh start and an opportunity for me to show what I can do.
“I’m looking to play here, for certain. That’s what I want to do.
“I also want consistent football. In fact. I’ve reached a point where I need it. Hopefully, once again, I can do that and get that here.”
Freeman was on target during Wednesday night’s friendly against Doncaster Rovers, scoring the final goal of what proved to be a comfortable 4-0 win.
The match, which could prove to be United’s final outing of a warm-up schedule which has been badly affected by Covid-19, confirmed Jokanovic plans to take a very different approach to the one pursued by Wilder, who left his position in March.
“This suits my style of play more, definitely,” Freeman continued. “So it will be interesting to see what the manager’s thoughts are.
“Why does it suit me more? Because it’s more offensive and more possession based. I get more touches, there’s more passing and a lot more emphasis on attacking. That’s not a dig at the old manager. Far from it. It’s just how it is.”
With Jokanovic reporting United are close to making a breakthrough in the transfer market ahead of next month’s meeting with Birmingham City, young defender Sam Graham has been allowed to join AFC Richdale on a free transfer. United inserted a sell-on and number of other performance related clauses into the deal which took the centre-half to Greater Manchester.
Graham has enjoyed spells with Central Coast Mariners, Halifax Town, Oldham Athletic and Notts County since graduating from the Steelphalt Academy.
“His physical attributes are outstanding and he’ll add pace and power to our team,” Robbie Stockdale, the Rochdale manager, said. “He’s technically good with the ball but we’ll also improve him on that aspect.”
“He still had a year left at Sheffield United and could easily have waited,” Stockdale added. “But it says a lot about him that he wanted to come and play and I have to thank Sheffield United for allowing us to get the deal done.”