Sheffield United v Leicester City - David McGoldrick wll fight ‘tooth and nail’ to stay in Premier League

DAVID McGOLDRICK can vividly recall the big winter freeze of 2012-13.

Sheffield United striker David McGoldrick. Picture: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Then, just as now, the Sheffield United forward was working with one of the most respected managers on the circuit in Mick McCarthy, the sort of players’ ‘gaffer’ who solid professionals such as himself hate letting down.

McGoldrick and his Ipswich Town team-mates certainly did not by the day of reckoning at the end of the season.

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Down among the Championship dead men at the tail end of 2012, the Suffolk outfit were in danger of finding themselves in the third tier for the first time since 1957 if things did not pick up in the new year.

The mood at Portman Road was funereal when McCarthy took over in November with Town having just one win to their name after 13 matches and propping up the table, while being six points adrift of safety.

By season’s end in May, Ipswich finished 14th.

It provides context to what can be achieved when all seems lost to many amid the Blades’ own grim plight towards the end of this calendar year.

McGoldrick said: “When I went to Ipswich in Mick McCarthy’s first year, he took over in November and I think we only had six or seven points in November or December.

“We came back and stayed up with quite a lot of points to be fair, the high fifties (points).

“I have had a few different experiences in my career.

“The one time I got relegated at Southampton, our performances were not good and you could tell because in games we were getting beaten by 3-0s and 4-1s.

“It is not the same feeling here. I have a feeling that it is just a matter of us turning the corner and getting that bit of confidence back from having that first win.

“It is only the Chelsea game where we have been taken apart.

“Results bring confidence. It will always be that way in football. Players can say they are confident, but you do simple things better when you are more confident; you express yourself better.”

As someone who fought so hard to reach the big time in his early thirties, McGoldrick’s experiences in East Anglia in particular at the start of his rewarding spell with McCarthy at Ipswich provides some element of hope amid difficult times.

Given his own journey to the Premier League, it makes his desire to keep fighting all the more fervent.

“You have got to fight tooth and nail. I made my debut when I was in Year 11 at school and then it was not until 31 that I started playing Premier League football,” he continued.

“Even though I signed for a Premier League team at 16, it took all these years to come. This is where every player wants to be.

“I want to stay here for as long as I can, I believe we will, and I will fight tooth and nail to make that happen.”

The Blades’ position may be unenviable, but their spirit will never be in danger of fracturing or waning, given the presence of Wilder and his coaching team – talented operators and top-class individuals who all the club’s players think the world of.

In his role as a senior professional alongside the likes of Billy Sharp, McGoldrick is also imparting his wisdom to the club’s younger players, who are suffering more than others amid the Blades’ predicament.

Brought in to score goals at a fair outlay, both Rhian Brewster and Oli McBurnie in particular are enduring a famine and are both entitled to currently harbour some doubts.

McGoldrick has been there before in his career, but a nugget of advice given to him by Harry Redknapp in his time at Southampton stuck with him.

Namely that the time to really worry is when you are not getting any chances at all.

He recalled: “With Harry, I missed a few chances in a reserve game and he said it to me then. Kev Phillips said it to me as well. He was the (main) striker at the time and was the best finisher I have seen.

“It is true, when you are not getting the chances, that is when you know you are doing something wrong; that you should not belong at that level.

“But when you are getting the chances and it is just not coming off, then you still rightly think that you belong at this level. That is what I have lived off, and I have been passing it onto the boys.”

McBurnie in particular is doing it tough at the moment, having failed to find the net in 14 games since July 11 when United last sampled victory in a 3-0 win over Chelsea.

It is a moment which seems an eternity ago to many.

To compound matters for McBurnie, he has also had to contend with sniping on social media from many Scotland followers in the autumn as well.

“I spoke to Oli in the dressing room after the game at West Brom,” McGoldrick, 33, said.

“He belongs at this level and he will score as he is a great striker.

“He offers so much defending and attacking, he puts himself about and links play, people do not realise how good he is with the ball at his feet and he is a valuable member of the team.

“He has scored goals in his career and in training, so no doubt they will come.”

The responsibility entrusted with being as one of the club’s ‘elder statesmen’ and providing some sage counsel to the Blades’ less experienced players is also something that sits well on McGoldrick’s shoulders.

The feedback that he has received from a group of players who are as honest as the day is long and just require a break or two makes it all the more worthwhile.

McGoldrick added: “I do enjoy it as I feel they respect me and my voice. If I can help the young boys in any way to give them any advice on anything, I will.

“I am not a guy who has scored 100 goals in the Premier League or anything like that, but I believe I know the game and feel they respect me. If I can help, it is a good feeling for me to get my views across.

“When I was younger, I could have done certain things to be better at my game and that is one of the things I am hoping to give them and teach my experiences in how to look after yourself, train and have the right mentality. I am giving it back and it is up to them how they take it.

“But all the lads’ attitudes are spot on. You would not be playing for a Chris Wilder side if their attitude was not spot on and they have that in abundance.”

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