Richard Stearman has become one of Sheffield United’s most influential players, manager Chris Wilder revealed last night, less than seven months after arriving at Bramall Lane.
The centre-half, one of three former Wolverhampton Wanderers players in the squad which visits Molineux on Saturday evening, endured a slow start to life in South Yorkshire but is poised to make his 13th consecutive start against the Championship leaders.
“He has been outstanding, outstanding in the changing room and in keeping a really good player out of the team at the moment in Jake (Wright),” Wilder said. “The reason why we brought Rich at the start of the season are for what he is showing now: Calmness and organisational qualities and excellent individual performances.”
Stearman, aged 30, signed a three year contract with Wilder’s side when United paid-up the remainder of his deal at Fulham last summer. He spent the majority of the 2016/17 campaign on loan at Wolves, where he made 234 appearances before completing a £2m transfer to Craven Cottage in September 2015.
Midfielder Lee Evans and Leon Clarke, the division’s joint-leading goalscorer, also represented the Black Country club before joining United.
“They will always want to play well, full stop,” Wilder said. “But they will want to play well when they go back to clubs that they have played at before whether it is Leon, Lee or Richard.
“They understand the environment and ground and will want to put in good performances. But they don’t have anything to prove to me; they are really good players. They have nothing to prove as far as I am concerned. Just play the way they have done and from their point of view, they will want to do well and prove what good players they are.”