The Sheffield United star who will enter Sunday's game against Leicester City walking a disciplinary tightrope

Sander Berge enters Sunday’s match against Leicester City knowing that a booking will rule him out of Sheffield United’s visit to Southampton later this month.

Thursday, 3rd December 2020, 5:00 pm

The midfielder received his fourth caution of the season during last weekend’s defeat by West Bromwich Albion, which saw Chris Wilder’s side remain at the foot of the table having lost nine and drawn one of their last 10 outings.

Berge must now avoid another booking until after United’s trip to Tottenham Hotspur on January 16 in order to avoid triggering an automatic suspension. With the odds of him negotiating safe passage through the next nine Premier League games being slim, Wilder and his coaching staff could be tempted to try and manage when Berge is forced to sit out a fixture, although their poor start to the campaign has left United with precious little room for manoeuvre in this regard.

Although Berge’s performance at The Hawthorns was disappointing by his own high standards of late, the Norwegian has been a rare success story for United this term. After struggling to adapt to the physical demands of the English game following a £22m move from Genk in January, a series of impressive displays at the beginning of the campaign prompted speculation that Arsenal were monitoring his situation in South Yorkshire ahead of a possible January bid. However Mikel Arteta, the Londoners’ manager, later suggested those links were a direct consequence of the fact that Albert Stuivenberg, who worked with Berge in Belgium, is now employed at the Emirates Stadium.

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“He is a player he (Stuivenberg) liked but we have not shown any interest in the player,” Arteta told journalists last month. “He is a Sheffield United player and we haven’t done anything at all with this.”

With John Fleck still easing his way back towards full fitness following a back injury and a series of other fitness issues exerting huge pressure on United’s defence ahead of the Christmas period, Wilder will be keen to avoid being forced to make more enforced changes to his starting eleven until Enda Stevens and Ethan Ampadu also return to action.

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Sheffield United's Sander Berge (fourth from left) is one game away from a suspension: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
Sander Berge has been booked four times this season, ahead of Sunday's game against Leicester City: Darren Staples/Sportimage