Analysis: Is Anel Ahmedhodzic returning to familiar role the best way for Sheffield United?

On Sunday, Anel Ahmedhodzic produced arguably his best Premier League performance at Wolverhampton Wanderers.

When Sheffield United won promotion, one of the biggest things to look forward was how the buckaneering centre-back would do.

Like the Blades' season as a whole, it has been a bit of a let-down. You could see it coming for the team, less so the Bosnian.

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It was hard not to wonder if it had anything to do with his position.

Ahmedhodzic sees himself best at the heart of a back three, where he excelled against Tottenham Hotspur in last season's FA Cup. With John Egan fit, he only played once there in the top-flight for Paul Heckingbottom – ironically at Spurs.

"He sees his future there or as a right-sided centre-half in a two," explained Heckingbottom's successor as manager, Chris Wilder.

"I always remember a game where he played Tottenham last season in the FA Cup and he was incredible as a central centre-half."

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EXCELLENT: Anel Ahmedhodzic was on top form for Sheffield United against Wolverhampton WanderersEXCELLENT: Anel Ahmedhodzic was on top form for Sheffield United against Wolverhampton Wanderers
EXCELLENT: Anel Ahmedhodzic was on top form for Sheffield United against Wolverhampton Wanderers

In six of this season’s first seven games, Ahmedhodzic played the right-sided role he was so brilliant in last season whilst John Egan and Jack Robinson minded the shop. Since Egan's potentially season-ending injury, that has been his job.

The least said about Ahmedhodzic's previous appearance on the right of a back three, the 5-0 defeat at Burnley which saw Heckingbottom sacked, the better.

After that, Wilder switched to a back four until loaning Mason Holgate encouraged him to go with a five, and his captain at its heart.

But with left-footers Robinson and Auston Trusty for company at Molineux, it made sense to shift Ahmedhodiz along one and he looked better for it, more able to sweep up danger for a fuller view of the pitch, and spending a lot of the second half in enemy territory.

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Maybe it is time Wilder puts his foot down and tells Ahmedhodzic he cannot play where he wants.

He needs more from his skipper.

"What you're asking for at this level is every player to produce their top performances and your big players to produce really big performances more than not," said Wilder.

Playing what in Wilder’s last spell was the Basham role, rather than the Egan one, might help, even if Ahmedhodzic is unconvinced.

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