Blades won’t pigeonhole Besic

Sheffield United
Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder salutes Sharp strike.

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder says he doesn’t view summer recruit Mo Besic as a defensive midfielder.

Besic, who is on loan at Sheffield United from Everton for the season, is widely regarded as a holding midfielder in his native Bosnia and Herzegovina and that is his role for his national side.

The 26-year-old did play in a more advanced position on loan at Middlesbrough in the Championship last season.

Wilder doesn’t feel midfield positions need to be labelled and he feels Besic – and all of his midfielders – should be able to have an impact at both ends of the pitch.

“In my day, good midfielders were good midfielders. Full stop,” he told the Sheffield Star.

“Good midfielders can get across the pitch and do all the things a midfielder should be able to do, like win the ball in a tackle, pass it and get across the pitch.”

Historically, Sheffield United teams tend to be physical and tough tackling but Wilder’s current crop operate with a different style.

There is no target man in the Blades attack and they like to play it out from the back, while the arrivals of forwards Lys Mousset and Oli McBurnie this summer suggest Wilder intends to continue with and build on the fluid style of play he has implemented during his time at Bramall Lane.

Besic does bring a physicality to the United engine room that had perhaps been missing, but he is also a skilful midfielder capable of picking out a pass and creating chances.

The Bosnian doesn’t necessarily provide a goal threat as he has just three goals in 112 games across all competitions since moving to England from Hungary’s Ferencvaros in 2014. He may be more productive in front of goal during his time with the Blades however, particularly if given a bit more freedom to roam forward by Wilder.

Besic was left on the bench for Sheffield United’s Premier League opener, a 1-1 draw at Bournemouth, and could be handed a debut when Crystal Palace visit south Yorkshire this weekend.         

The Bosnian may have to settle for a place among the substitutes again as it would be hard for Wilder to alter his team too much given their strong performance on the south coast but Besic clearly has a big role to play for the Blades going forward this season.