Wednesday, December 1

David McGoldrick: Sheffield United’s system doesn’t need a wrecking ball | Football

HUnopened is not a word often heard at Sheffield United. The Blades are the only club in England’s four major divisions without a league win this season, but no one at Bramall Lane believes relegation is inevitable.

When he hosts Leicester on Sunday, he will attack with the belief that goals will soon start to flow, despite having scored four in 10 Premier League games.

Oli McBurnie shows his frustration after a foul against West Ham

Oli McBurnie shows his frustration against West Ham. He has become the target of criticism after a series of missed occasions. Photograph: Andy Hooper / NMC Pool

David McGoldrick believes that more than anyone and has been using the lessons of his own career to try to inspire the other forwards at the club. McGoldrick is the only player to have scored a league goal in open play this season, but it was a very different story last season, when he didn’t break the mark until United’s 35th league game. He reminded his fellow forwards after last week’s loss at West Brom, particularly Oli McBurnie, who has become the target of criticism after a series of missed opportunities.

“I spoke to him immediately after the game in the locker room,” says the 33-year-old. “I don’t really follow social media, but some guys said there were calls to have it removed. But if you take the aspects of his game, what he brings to our club and team, the physical aspect, etc., he did well. If I had wasted some of those opportunities, it would have been a really good performance.

“As an older figure tell you [younger strikers]: ‘Remember me when I was talking about my goal drought last year’. It is not about losing opportunities, it is when you do not have opportunities that you should start to worry. All the forwards have had opportunities and some of them are going to come in soon, and then hopefully we’ll run out. “

McGoldrick was given similar advice when he was starting out as a teenager in Southampton. “I lost a few chances in a reserve game and Harry Redknapp [the manager] He spoke with me, and also Kevin Phillips, who was the main striker in Southampton at the time and is the best finalist I’ve ever played with.

“He said that when you don’t have opportunities, you know that you are doing something wrong and that you should not be at this level, but when you have opportunities, you put yourself in positions and you are at the end of things, but it just doesn’t come. off, then you still belong to this level. Oli belongs to this level and is going to start scoring again, without a doubt ”.

McGoldrick knows the value of making that endorsement public. He benefited from similar support last season, when his entire game ensured that he retained affection despite ending up wandering. “I wasn’t getting any real negativity when I was on the field and I was missing opportunities,” he says.

“A couple of games come to mind: in Brighton I walked around the goalkeeper and put him wide open and the fans started chanting my name. What fans do that?

David McGoldrick scores the second of his two goals against Chelsea in July

David McGoldrick scores the second of his two goals against Chelsea in July, the only ones he scored in the league last season. Photograph: Alex Dodd / CameraSport / Getty Images

“At Aston Villa I missed quite a few opportunities and the fans chanted my name when they took me out. I saw part of the press conference, what the manager and the guys were saying about me, and as long as I had that endorsement, that helped me get through it. “

McGoldrick is also encouraged by Sheffield United’s record of defying the odds under Chris Wilder, moving from League One to finishing ninth in the top flight. “We have been very successful in the last three years,” he says.

“This is the first real part of our journey since I’ve been here, so I don’t think we have to start taking a wrecking ball. You can see that the system works, we are creating opportunities. It’s the latter and that comes down to a little confidence and a little luck. “

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He is convinced that it is not that any of his colleagues gave in to despair. “That’s one thing about this club, you wouldn’t play for a Chris Wilder team if your attitude wasn’t right.

“It wasn’t until I was 31 that I started playing in the Premier League, even though I was signed by a Premier League club when I was 16,” he says. “It took me all these years to get here and I want to stay as long as we can. We will fight tooth and nail to make that happen. “

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