Why Sheffield United's players have been urged to follow Jack Robinson's lead over coming weeks

Sheffield United’s squad players have been urged to follow the lead of Jack Robinson and keep themselves on standby for game-time over the busy Christmas period.

Wednesday, 22nd December 2021, 6:00 am

Robinson stepped in to make his first appearance in over three months on Monday night away at league leaders Fulham, and was virtually faultless as United kept a clean sheet and returned north with three points thanks to Iliman Ndiaye’s magical winning goal.

Robinson, United’s only senior centre-half cover for their recognised back three, played in the absence of Ben Davies, with the Liverpool loanee missing through what was described afterwards as “personal reasons”.

And Paul Heckingbottom, the Blades boss, said: “He was fantastic.

Sign up to our Sheffield United newsletter

“He’s been training really hard. He’s not played for a long time and been working hard to play at the level required of him.

“I had no doubt he could perform like that. He stepped up at the end of last season [when Heckingbottom took caretaker charge of United] when I put him in, and he was a big part of the last few games when we won a few and kept clean sheets.

“He can be proud of how he played and we’ll have more people who need to stand up, with injuries and suspension and Covid times. We’ll need more to stand up before the end of the season.”

Heckingbottom’s words will place the likes of Ben Osborn, Luke Freeman and Oli Burke on red-alert. All three were on the bench at Craven Cottage but have not featured regularly under Heckingbottom since he replaced Slavisa Jokanović at the helm last month.

Sheffield United's Wes Foderingham helps Jack Robinson with cramp on the defender's first appearance for three months at Fulham: Adam Davy/PA Wire.

“You’ve got to be consistent and if we can keep our levels of performance, we’ll be all right and win more than we lose,” Heckingbottom, whose side climbed to 11th and within three points of the play-offs at full-time, added.

“We’ll just focus on us and keep trying to improve, with a mentality to win games. Hopefully that’s enough to keep us up there.

“It’s been tough for a while but like I said to the players, you can feel sorry for yourselves or get on with it. And we’ll get on with it.

“We need a winning mentality, to be ready to work and push. If we do that, we’ll win more than we lose.”