Why Sheffield United should offer Enda Stevens a new deal
According to claims from Football Insider, as relayed by the Sheffield Star, Sheffield United are set to open negotiations with Enda Stevens over a new deal to extend his stay at Bramall Lane.
As per the report, Blades manager Chris Wilder has given the green light to the club hierarchy to initiate contract talks with the 29-year-old Republic of Ireland international, who has been in fine form for Sheffield United in the Premier League this term.
Stevens already has several years left to run on his existing deal at Bramall Lane until 2022, but the Blades are apparently keen to avoid any kind of speculation over the future of one of their key first-team players with a new contract.
The Dublin-born star plied his trade with UCD, St. Patrick’s Athletic and Shamrock Rovers in his homeland before earning a move to the Premier League with Aston Villa back in the summer of 2011.
However, he only featured sporadically at Villa and spent time on loan at Notts County, Northampton Town and Doncaster Rovers in the lower divisions before settling down at Portsmouth in League Two.
The Irishman’s impressive displays in the fourth-tier paved the way for a move to the Championship with Sheffield United, who snapped up Stevens in the summer of 2017 following their promotion to the second-tier.
Stevens hasn’t looked back since then, and after enjoying a promising debut season at Bramall Lane, the 29-year-old played a key role to guide the Blades to automatic promotion in the Championship last term as Wilder’s side secured a return to the Premier League with a runners-up finish behind Norwich City in the second-tier.
The 11-cap Irish international, who contributed with 4 goals and 6 assists in 45 appearances for the Blades in the Championship last season, has made the step up to the Premier League as a key cog in club’s engine.
Featuring in a left wing-back role in Wilder’s preferred back-three system, Stevens has started each of Sheffield United’s first 17 games in the top-flight so far while also playing every minute of the club’s league campaign.
Sheffield United have already exceeded all expectations as a promoted team in the Premier League this term, earning plenty of plaudits for their grit, resilience and togetherness, whilst also carving out an identity for themselves with an attractive and innovative brand of football under the charismatic stewardship of Wilder.
To that end, stability at the back has been one of the hallmarks of the Blades’ campaign in the Premier League so far and that has allowed the more attack-minded players to venture forward and express themselves.
While the centre-back trio of Jack O’Connell, John Egan and Chris Basham has been quite sensational, the wing-back pairing of Enda Stevens and George Baldock has also been instrumental in the smooth functioning of Wilder’s back-three system that has taken many a team by surprise with its dynamism.
To put things into perspective, it is hard to single out individuals behind the Blades’ raging success in the top-flight this season but Enda Stevens is a name that certainly stands out. The Irishman has been amongst the key driving forces of a hungry tight-knit side and a new contract for him would definitely be a well-deserved move.
As per whoscored, Stevens has averaged 41.6 passes per game at an accuracy rate of 77.5%, including 2 long balls, 1 key pass, 2 dribbles, 2.1 tackles, 1.3 interceptions, 0.5 crosses and 1.6 clearances per game in the Premier League, figures which speak volumes of his well-rounded attributes as a wing-back at both ends of the pitch.
Besides his tally of 1 goal and 2 assists so far, Stevens boasts of an impressive average of 4.6 ground duels won every game, amounting to a success rate of 50, while also creating a total of 6 big chances. (h/t Sofascore)
Indeed, the Irishman’s impressive contribution to both attack and defence from that left wing-back role is well backed up by the numbers and he continues to be a key player moving forward for the Blades.
More Sheffield United News
- Why Sheffield United signing Jack Rodwell would be a win-win for all
- Why Sheffield United would strike gold by offering fresh terms to John Lundstram
- Why Nicolas Gaitan would be a massive coup for Sheffield United
All in all, Sheffield United offering Enda Stevens a new deal should be an absolute no-brainer and a shrewd piece of business as they look to consolidate on a bright start to life in the top-flight.