John Lundstram repaying the faith of Sheffield United chief

HANDLING the full glare of the spotlight is often not straightforward '“ just ask Sheffield United midfielder John Lundstram.

John Lundstram: Has stepped in to good effect.

Assigned with filling the considerable shoes of Paul Coutts following the influential schemer’s serious injury at Burton, added responsibility has latterly been thrust onto the shoulders of Lundstram due to John Fleck’s three-match suspension.

Despite the dual pressure, no-one can accuse Lundstram of not showing his mettle of late, with his sweet opening goal in the Blades’ comprehensive 3-0 Boxing Day win over Sunderland representing an added bonus.

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Believing that performances are on the rise, Lundstram said: “The spotlight was always going to be on me when Couttsy got injured. They are massive boots to fill and everyone knows what a player he is.

“I admire Paul so much. He is such a great player. The sooner he gets back in the team and around the squad, the better we will be as he is such a great player. Me, Flecky and Couttsy playing (together) would be terrific!

“It was always going to be tough filling his (Coutts) boots, but I feel like I have got better as the games have gone on. I did not hit the ground running at first, but am getting better and I have said that to the management team that I would and I think I am showing it.

“I have great admiration for the manager as he brought me to the club and had faith in me. He has put me in for Couttsy and, hopefully, I can repay him.”

The ex-Oxford United midfielder is also acutely aware of the need to consolidate his position with further good performances in the event of midfield reinforcements arriving in the January transfer window.

It is a challenge he will certainly not be shying away from.

He added: “Other players may come in, but it is up to me to try and keep them out of the team.”

On the Blades’ ending their six-match winless sequence with a touch of swagger against the Wearsiders, he added: “The run we have been on lately has not been the greatest. But I would not say this is a relief as such as we have been playing quite well in games and the Preston game was the only one where we were completely miles off and not great.

“We should have got a result against Bristol City, but against Sunderland we got the result we deserved with the way we played.”