Sheffield United rate Filip Uremovic's chances of facing Stoke City at the bet365 Stadium
Filip Uremovic’s knowledge of the game and language skills could see him pitched straight into Sheffield United’s starting eleven at Stoke City, despite completing only two training sessions with Paul Heckingbottom’s side.
Despite insisting the Croatia defender was still waiting to receive international clearance following yesterday’s work-out - a week after suspending his contract with Rubin Kazan - Heckingbottom is confident the relevant paperwork will be processed ahead of tomorrow’s visit to the bet365 Stadium.
If it is, then the United manager admitted he will have no qualms about Uremovic’s ability to negotiate his way through the fixture. Even though, Heckingbottom admitted, the 25-year-old is still adjusting to life in England.
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“His personality, his character and his English is top class,” Heckingbottom said. “The fact he is captain of his club and has also played for his country - that’s the type of character we want.
“We know he’s got the ability. That is evident.
“It’s just about adapting to the league and acclimatising to the competition. It’s a different style here, much more attritional. But he knows the game and that’s why he can play in a number of different positions.”
Having been invited to watch United’s win over Barnsley a fortnight ago, following FIFA’s decision to allow overseas players in Russia to temporarily seek alternative employment following the country’s invasion of Ukraine, Heckingbottom insisted Uremovic was only introduced to his new teammates less than 48 hours ago.
Strangely, given the timing of his departure from Kazan, United also told journalists at their latest pre-match media conference the centre-half’s switch is yet to be officially processed.
No explanation was given as to why, although Heckingbottom has admitted to laying false trails when it comes to his selection plans in the past.
Fifth in the table with eight games remaining, United could be attempting to confuse City about their likely line-up. City, meanwhile, are 15th.
“Filip can play in the centre, on the side of a three or even in midfield,” Heckingbottom said. “He can do that because he understands the game.
“Here’s here to play but, if we do put him in, it will be a case of: ‘There you go, now just try and get through it.’ It might be a few games before you see him at his best.”