John Egan believes Sheffield United have the perfect mix of skill and graft.
The £4m club record summer signing from Brentford has been a key factor in the Blades’ promotion push this season.
They travel to Carrow Road today looking to reclaim second spot back from Norwich City.
And while the Blades have won many plaudits for their attacking style – with defenders regularly charging upfield to join in attacks – Egan believes United also possess a fighting spirit.
“You can play all the nice football you want, but if you can’t put your body on the line, and can’t do other jobs, then you won’t survive in this league,” said Egan.
“You are thrown different challenges every single week. You can come up against a footballing side, or a physical side, so you have to be an all-round total footballing side to do well in this league.
You are thrown different challenges every single week. You can come up against a footballing side, or a physical side, so you have to be an all-round total footballing side to do well in this league.John Egan
“You have to be good at both parts of the game, and I think every single player we have at this club, can get the ball down and play. But they can also work really hard, put a shift in and put their bodies on the line.
“You will get found out in the Championship – or even the Premier League – if you can’t play football.
“I see defenders getting transfers and the first thing people say is “oh he is really good on the ball”. Okay he is good on the ball, but can he defend? And with full-backs, people want to know how they are attacking.
“The art of defending will always be there, in my opinion.
“At the club, to do well in this league, you have to be good on the ball, to bomb on, but you also have to be able to defend when needed. Otherwise you will concede a lot of goals.”
With 18 games remaining, United are deep in the promotion race.
And Egan – in his second spell at United after a one-game loan stint back in 2012 – is backing the Blades for promotion.
“We just have to keep going now,” said the Republic of Ireland international. “Keep our performance levels up, be consistent and turn a few games which got away from us, turn them around.
“We need to keep winning. Belief is key, as a team, as a football club, that we can achieve big things this season.
“When I first came here I believed we could reach the Premier League, and my opinion hasn’t changed.
“We have played every team in this league, played some twice, and there’s not one team that scares me.”