28 January 2022
By Roger Kennedy
John’s Egan’s journey to the heart of the Sheffield United defence has been a long one that has involved putting pen to paper on deals with no fewer than seven different clubs. Although, in Egan’s case, he was very much sought-after and could have made any of those seven clubs his permanent football home had he wanted to.
In the end, he was just too good and kept going onto bigger and better things as he climbed the football pyramid that would eventually lead him to the Premier League, ten years after departing from Cork Airport.
With that said, there was a moment of uncertainty in Egan’s career after he broke his leg whilst on loan to Bradford City back in 2012. At the time, the centre-back was contracted to Sunderland and returned to the Stadium of Light for the necessary treatment.
Remarkably, the Black Cats put any doubt over the course of Egan’s career to bed whilst he was on the treatment table by offering him a contract extension. From this moment, it was onwards and upwards, despite leaving Sunderland in 2014 without ever having made an appearance for the North East club.
Over the next few years, Egan enjoyed spells at Southend United, Gillingham, Brentford, and then Sheffield United in 2018. This was the biggest move of the Irishman’s career and, interestingly, was the second time he had joined the club after initially signing on loan in 2012 whilst contracted to his parent club, Sunderland. Signing for the Blades would mark the end of Egan’s somewhat nomadic existence as the 29-year-old has become one of the club’s most prized assets today and has a contract in place until 2024.
In reality, it has been four very successful years for Egan at Bramall Lane despite being relegated with the team from the Premier League at the end of the 2020/2021 season. Indeed, promotion from the Championship under Chris Wilder during the 2018/2019 season was one of the particular highlights as Egan was a key part of the fabled overlapping centre-backs that made the class of 2019 the talk of football lovers the world over.
As things stand now, the feat of going up could be achieved again, albeit this time under new manager Paul Heckingbottom as the Blades push for promotion to the Premier League once more. This time around, the Blades are outsiders priced at odds of 7/1, though there is value to be found in backing Heckingbottom’s men as they lie only a few points off the coveted play-off places. Punters who want to back Sheffield United to make it two promotions in three years can access this bet365 bonus code to be used on any Championship betting outright market.
However the race for promotion ends up, under new boss Heckingbottom, the Blades have found a cutting edge and are enjoying a wave of momentum that could be significant given the timing. In addition, Egan has found an ally in Conor Hourihane, a fellow Irishman who made the transition from Aston Villa to the Blades just last August. Hourihane will be eager to taste the Premier League again and promises to bring some momentum to the side.
Notably, Heckingbottom’s reign has been built on shoring up Sheffield United’s defence, which is a plan that has been implemented well as the Blades have kept three clean sheets in six league games under Heckingbottom. It won’t come as a surprise then to learn that Egan has played in all of those games and is the rock keeping this team together at the back.
Yes, Egan has Sheffield United on course for a return to the Premier League which would be another feather in the cap of a man who has enjoyed a richly rewarding journey since he left Cork in 2009.