The reason why Sheffield United are refusing to set an exact comeback date for Lys Mousset

Chris Wilder, the Sheffield United manager, has explained why Lys Mousset is unlikely to return to action until Christmas despite watching the centre-forward make good progress in his battle to overcome a foot complaint.

Thursday, 22nd October 2020, 5:15 pm

Mousset has not featured at Premier League level since July, and was forced to undergo surgery earlier this summer after injuring a toe during a pre-season friendly against Preston North End.

Although the damage Mousset sustained was thought to be minimal at the time, it later transpired an operation would be required to fix the problem. Despite having the protective boot he was fitted with removed last month, the former AFC Bournemouth striker has yet to take part in full contact sessions at the Steelphalt Academy training complex - where United are preparing for Saturday’s trip to Liverpool.

“There’s clearance sessions and we were looking, to begin with, to get Lys out of the boot,” Wilder told The Star. “We’re looking at six weeks, of gradually building him back up, and then date wise, getting him back into full time training after that. So I think we’re looking at six to eight weeks before he’s back out there again.”

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Mousset’s fitness record has been a major source of frustration for United, ever since his arrival from The Vitality Stadium in July last year. Although the damage he sustained during the meeting with Preston was unfortunate, Mousset was clearly out of shape when he returned from his summer break in France - where he had been granted permission to spend time with his partner and their newborn baby. He also missed the start of the previous campaign because of doubts about his conditioning, and while Wilder initially blamed this on the protracted nature of his move to South Yorkshire, the veil slipped after Mousset scored five times in 10 outings over the autumn period.

Despite insisting then that Mousset could have “done more” to stay fit while the deal was being arranged, Wilder suggested the 24-year-old has learnt his lesson after detailing his exemplary conduct in recent weeks.

“It’s not an exact science, knowing when someone is going to be back,” Wilder acknowledged. “But he’s done his utmost to get sorted out, he’s been fabulous in his approach and the conditioners have been doing some brilliant work with him.”

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Lys Mousset in action against Preston North End: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

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Lys Mousset will miss Sheffield United's visit to Liverpool: Simon Bellis/Sportimage