Egan cleans out Spurs by reading the breaks and executing the blocks
Everywhere Harry Kane turned, with a shoulder, a block or a flying lunge, John Egan was there.
John Egan had a point to prove on Thursday and that's one hell of a proposition. Harry Kane was always going to be in for a tough evening.
Having had a disappointing day compounded by a red card against Newcastle United just a fortnight ago, Egan was suspended for the Man United game as Phil Jagielka minded the gap. Rare blots on the Premier League copybook. Reasons for motivation.
But the brilliant Egan, who has been the rock at the heart of Chris Wilder's Sheffield United defence all season long, was never going to be down for too long and he had Spurs in his sights.
True to form, the former Bishopstown GAA player and Greenwood FC soccer star bounced back to the indefatigable force that has catapulted the blades into the reckoning for a top six finish and in turn has marked himself out as one of the most consistent defenders in the League.
Granted, Egan was not faultless, with Kane unfortunate to be denied by a controversial first half VARce but the Cork man's full-blooded style ensures that every touch is earned, every move checked. His commitment and intensity are the main reasons Sheffield United are considered as one the most physical and competitive defences in the top flight.
Indeed, Egan's defensive stats for the evening were supreme, with an incredible seven clearances made, six ground duels won and three interceptions made. He also made an incredible block from Spurs attacker Lo Celso which can be seen from 0.30 below. For many of these interventions, Kane was the victim with Egan stuck to the English front man like glue.
See the highlights of his influential performance here where his reading of the game stands out once more.
The rock at the heart of the Blades defence ⚔️
The insurmountable John Egan 💪pic.twitter.com/86qtiEZUC2
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) July 3, 2020
While Egan's bravery and honesty make him such a defensive force, it's his calmness in possession that has many of the so-called big clubs sniffing. This comes as no surprise to those who have watched him grow, from a talented GAA player to a skilful soccer player.
"We always knew he was an extremely extremely talented soccer player," says family friend and his school principal Brian Cuthbert.
"I remember watching him at PE here… I suppose I’m here 24 years now, and I’ve seen a thousand or so plus boys going through but I’ve never seen anyone as skilful as this guy playing soccer."
"I remember one day," continued Cuthbert, "he was a tiny, tiny dot, getting a ball on the endline, turning his man and coming in and off his weaker leg, putting the ball into the far side of the goal into the top corner.
"And the ball...one of these goals that twirls around in the net when you look at it. I remember looking out to the other teacher who was with us - Mr. O’Hanlon - and I looked over and I just put thumbs up and he gave thumbs back to me saying this fella was going to be special..."