John Lundstram deserves respect for coping with the ‘ridiculous hype’ surrounding his presence in Sheffield United’s starting eleven, manager Chris Wilder has claimed.
The former England youth international has started all of his club’s last four games after fellow midfielder Paul Coutts was ruled-out for the rest of the season through injury.
Although Coutts’ absence has coincided with their fall from first to sixth, Wilder has absolved Lundstram of responsibility for United’s slide down the Championship table, describing his performance against Bristol City as “fantastic.”
“I think John’s been excellent,” he said. “It’s been ridiculous, the hype, over the Paul Coutts situation. This is a young kid, 24-years-old, playing his first batch of games in this division. I thought he was fantastic last time out, I really did.”
United return to action when they visit Preston North End on Saturday afternoon. With John Fleck ruled-out of the game through suspension - he was sent-off against City four days ago - Lundstram is set to assume even greater responsibility over the Christmas period.
“He, John, wants to get on the ball,” Wilder continued. “Exactly the same way that Couttsy does.
“We all know he’s a quality player who us going to get even better for us. But I think that, showing the bravery to take possession in whatever situation, is a great characteristic to have. It tells you a lot about the lad, it tells you what he’s made of, in my book.”
Meanwhile, United host Burton Albion in the FA Youth Cup tonight (kick-off 7pm). The third round match, which takes place at Bramall Lane, is free for season ticket holders.
Travis Binnion’s side beat Crewe Alexandra and Halifax Town en route to the same stage of the competition last season after entering at the first round stage.