Speaking to the Yorkshire Post, Chris Wilder has admitted that Leon Clarke is Sheffield United’s main man in attack now, with the Blades’ system more reliant on the striker than the likes of Billy Sharp and David Brooks.
Clarke has established himself as the club’s focal point in attack so far this season, spearheading Wilder’s favoured 3-5-2 formation in the Sky Bet Championship. The striker has scored four goals from his 11 appearances so far this season, with Wilder admitting that Clarke is probably in the form of his career at the current time.
The 32-year-old failed to add to his goal tally on Friday evening, as goals from Sharp and Brooks secured a 2-1 victory over Leeds United at Elland Road, which has left the Blades clear at the top of the Championship table, after both Wolverhampton Wanderers and Cardiff City dropped points over the weekend.
Wilder has now moved to praise Clarke, labelling him as the club’s main man, ahead of Sharp, who captained the Blades to promotion last season and scored 30 goals in League One. He said: “Whether it is Billy at the top of the pitch or Brooksy and (Mark) Duffy (slightly behind), Leon takes the responsibility of being the main man up there.
“That is not being disrespectful to the skipper, but he gives us a focal point and someone for Billy to play off. If we change our shape, it allows Brooky to play round him.”
After victory at Elland Road on Friday, Wilder’s side were able to watch on the following day, as both Wolves and Cardiff opened the door for the Blades to remain top of the pile heading into this week’s midweek fixtures. Wilder’s side are once again on the road on Tuesday evening, travelling to London for a clash with Queens Park Rangers, who were the team to prevent Wolves from moving back to the top of the Championship table on Saturday, beating the Molineux outfit 2-1.
Clarke has been extremely impressive so far this season, proving to be a key cog in Wilder’s finely tuned Sheffield United machine.
The striker’s work rate against Leeds on Friday was phenomenal, and he is proving to be not just a target man for the Blades, but also one of Wilder’s hardest workers, by really defending from the front.
The fact he is now seen as Sheffield United’s main attacking option ahead of Sharp speaks volumes about his current form.
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