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Hard-working Egan deserves his moment of glory with Blades

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John Egan

John Egan

REUTERS

John Egan

I have seen so many players who had too much handed to them far too young - and their careers never went where they should have.

So it's great to see John Egan do so well in his first season as a Premier League player, scoring two goals in two games in the last few days. I was playing in the Premier League at 17, John was 26 when he played there for the first time so he's had a long road to get where he is today.

John has had injuries, serious injuries, and came back to play at the top.

Not everyone can handle it when they break through at 17 or 18. If it takes you a decade to establish yourself and you're only ready at 26, then that's a tribute to your mindset and perseverance.

I am sure he will enjoy every minute of every game in the Premier League now, probably more than he would have done at 18.

Incredible

But John has worked really had to get to the Premier League and into the Ireland team and he's had an incredible season.

What his manager at Sheffield United will like is that John is not just scoring goals but important ones - the equaliser against Burnley and then the winner against Wolves.

If they do qualify for Europe those four points he helped to secure will have played a big role.

As I know, goals are hard to find for central defenders.

John has scored two goals in 31 Premier League games, I scored 11 times in my 431 league matches. I think I scored more own goals than actual goals for my own team, I scored a couple in my first season at Aston Villa but that's as good as it got.

I started off really well with Ireland, I scored three times in my first eight caps and then only scored a handful over the next 10 years in 72 matches - it just goes like that sometimes, so John should enjoy the run he is on.

The Blades are having a really good season but it's a tough time for Aston Villa, and when you see where they are in the table, and see what Glenn Whelan has done for Fleetwood Town this season, you do wonder.

Villa said at the start of the season that they were upbeat about signing 13 new players... but they'd lost 12 players for various reasons.

They had so many new players that by mid-season no one knew who was a regular and who wasn't, none of them have made their mark on the Premier League.

They'd have been better off keeping some of the players they had, the likes of Glenn, for their experience.

Clubs get promoted and then sign players who have never played in the Premier League.

If you have a proven player like Glenn, who knows the league and helps run the dressing room, why let him go for some younger player who has been sold to you by some agent?

Clubs make mistakes like this all the time, it's costly - and it could cost Villa dearly.