Blades Fans Column: It’s now or never for Sheffield United’s forgotten man

Florent Cuvelier

Florent Cuvelier

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The player who might benefit most from Jose Baxter’s latest suspension is perhaps someone who some Blades fans may not have realised was still at the club.

I was about to say that Florent Cuvelier was a typical Nigel Clough midfielder (i.e. small) when I remembered that it was actually David Weir who signed him. Yes, it was that long ago.

Cuvelier joined United from Stoke City in early September 2013 apparently in exchange for some money, but nowadays for some reason they don’t like to tell us how much.

The new man got lost in the maelstrom of awfulness that was Weir’s short reign, and nobody who saw him play could tell you what his strengths were, as he didn’t appear to have any. But you couldn’t blame the young man for that, as he was caught up in the general malaise.

Cuvelier didn’t get a look-in under Weir’s successor Clough, who sent him on loan to Port Vale.

There he ruptured an anterior cruciate ligament in his first match. Eleven months later a substitute appearance and an assist against Plymouth in the FA Cup earned Cuvelier a start in the League Cup win over Southampton, but before long he was out of the team again after Clough signed Jason Holt on loan.

Another loan move to Burton Albion followed and began well when Cuvelier scored the winner on his debut at Hartlepool but pulled a hamstring minutes later and was out again for ages.

I can’t say what (if any) specific injury kept Cuvelier out all this season until recently, but Nigel Adkins says he is now ‘confident in his own body’, whatever that suggests.

Ten appearances for the Blades in two-and-a-half years, and his contract is up in June.

It’s now or never Flo.