The Republic of Ireland will face Switzerland this Thursday in a major EURO 2020 qualifying group game. One position that the Irish faithful won’t have to be concerned about ahead of Thursday’s game is the left-back position. Sheffield United’s Enda Stevens looks all but certain to claim the Irish left-back position for Ireland’s remaining qualifying games.
Stevens has made an impressive start to life in the Premier League. The 29 year old has been a standout player for The Blades in the early stages of the season. Sheffield United’s long awaited Premier League return has had a positive start in general after four games. Chris Wilder’s side have picked up a very respectable 5 points from their opening 4 games of the season. Those who were familiar with The Blades’ style of football from last season will not be surprised with their attractive exploits in the Premier League thus far. Sheffield United have proven, on the grandest stage, why they are a deserving member of England’s top flight.
The Blades currently sit in 10th place on the table, level on points with Manchester United, Tottenham and Chelsea. Blades fans will be delighted with their positioning on the table, and so too should Irish fans. Sheffield United have the highest contingent of Irish internationals of all Premier League teams. Four members of the Sheffield United squad are present in Mick McCarthy’s squad for the upcoming international fixtures.
The most exciting one of these four players, is undoubtedly Enda Stevens. Stevens was a key member of Sheffield United’s successfully promoted side of last season. Stevens accumulated a total of 4 goals and 6 assists from left-back last season. He has carried his impressive form into The Blades’ Premier League campaign. Stevens has not only been arguably Sheffield United’s best player of the season so far, but he has arguably been the standout left-back in the entire English top flight after the first four games of the season.
The stats back up Stevens’ impressive performances thus far this season. Stevens has completed more successful dribbles than any other left-back in the league, completing a total of 12 so far. Stevens is not just an attacking threat, however. Stevens has also been one of the toughest left-backs in the league to get past this season. The Dubliner has completed a total of 14 successful tackles so far this season. This gives him an impressive average of 3.5 successful tackles per game. Only Chelsea’s Emerson and Burnley’s Erik Pieters have completed more successful tackles than Stevens, after four games this season.
Irish fans will be hopeful that the impressive left-back can carry his form into Ireland’s upcoming international fixtures. In an interview after Sheffield United’s recent 2-2 draw with Chelsea, Stevens spoke with excitement about the upcoming international break. Stevens said that he is “looking forward” to Thursday’s Ireland clash vs Switzerland. Stevens also shows an ambitious nature which will be appreciated by Irish fans. Stevens said of Sheffield United’s mindset for the Premier League season, “I think we can be competitive, and we believe we can be.” If Stevens and the Irish Sheffield United contingent can carry this mentality over to the Ireland squad, it will bode well for Ireland’s EURO 2020 qualification hopes.