John Lundstram’s response after being taken out of the Sheffield United team has come as no surprise to his manager Chris Wilder.
The midfielder, who remains in talks about a new contract, has had to settle for a substitute role over the past few weeks while club-record signing Sander Berge has been given a run of games.
After being benched for the matches against Manchester City, Crystal Palace, Bournemouth and Brighton, Lundstram returned to the Blades’ Premier League starting line-up on Saturday and was instrumental in their victory over Norwich.
It was Lundstram’s superb cross that allowed Billy Sharp to head the only goal of the game and arguably only Dean Henderson’s world-class triple save late on – to ensure his side kept all three points – denied the 26-year-old Liverpudlian the man of the match accolade.
“If you analyse his performances, and we have to always, then he needed to come out of the team,” said Wilder.
“Then we had an opportunity of signing Sander and he has come in and played a part in three out of four wins and we have good players.
“Players shouldn’t be scared or shy of competition and challenges and John hasn’t been. I am not surprised, it just epitomises the group and the culture we are trying to create here.
“The way he has been in the changing room when he hasn’t played has been exemplary and then he comes back in and plays like he has. I think that’s a fantastic example of how you should be as a professional footballer.
“Take the disappointments on the chin and enjoy the good times when they are happening. Be humble and take that opportunity to step back in and take it when you get back in.
“There’s no downside for spitting your dummy out, no downside at all, and that’s the culture we have tried to create.”
Norwich boss Daniel Farke admitted that defeat at Bramall Lane was a “setback” for his side’s Premier League survival chances.
The 1-0 loss means the Canaries remain six points adrift of safety with nine matches remaining to save their top-flight status.
“It’s a setback in terms of earning the right to stay in this league for next season,” said Farke.
“I think we won every statistic in terms of possession, shots, shots on target, duels, aerial duels – but the most important statistics are goals.
“In football, it is fine margins. If we came away with the equaliser, after the win at Tottenham in the cup, everyone would say ‘what a week’ and ‘great point on the road’. But because we didn’t score it is a big blow.
“We will keep our nerves and keep going and it is important to stick together.”
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