Ryan Flynn has been granted a licence to thrill next term after Nigel Clough, the Sheffield United manager, insisted he possess the tools required to terrorise League One defenders, writes James Shield.
But Clough warned the former Scotland under-21 international must not neglect the less glamorous aspects of his game despite being ordered to “test every single opponent.”
“Ryan is a great team player,” Clough said. “He is so willing to help out at the back that, towards the end of last season, it was a little to the detriment of his attacking responsibilities.
“We want that to continue but we also want Ryan to get back to doing what he does best as well which is attacking defenders, running at them and getting in crosses.
“It’s all about striking the right balance. But, providing he continues to work hard, then Ryan can be a terrific player for us which is why we did what we did.”
Clough was referring to United decision to award Flynn a new contract after he emerged as a driving force behind their climb to from 21st to seventh in the table during the 2013/14 campaign.
John Brayford was also instrumental in helping United win 15 of their last 23 games following his loan move from Cardiff. Clough has made no secret of the fact that he would like to bring Brayford back to South Yorkshire. Doing so, however, will be fraught with difficulty given the size of the transfer fee he is likely to command should the Welsh club decide to sell.
Brayford cost Malky Mackay, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s predecessor in the principality, an initial £1.75m when he arrived from Derby County nearly a year ago.
United are pressing ahead with their efforts to strengthen the options at Clough’s disposal after acquiring Marc McNulty and Jamal Campbell-Ryce last month. Walsall’s Andy Butler is expected to arrive shortly while a number of other targets have also been identified.
“We’re working hard and doing everything we can to make sure that we’re ready to go,” Clough said. “But we are already working with a really good group of professionals as they’ve shown.”