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Wednesday, 23 July 2008

A big season for...Michael Tonge

No longer merely a promising youngster, midfielder Michael Tonge enters the new season at Sheffield United with nearly 300 appearances under his belt for the Blades.

Now 25-years-old, Tonge came to prominence during an unforgettable 2002/03 season at Bramall Lane as part of the United side that reached two cup semi-finals (netting twice against Liverpool in the league cup semi-final 1st leg) and also came within one game of reaching the Premiership.

Since then his name has regularly cropped up in the transfer gossip pages, something that has not changed this summer with Sunderland in particular named as a potential suitor.

Tonge remains in South Yorkshire however and although his loyalty to the Blades is commendable, the nagging doubt remains that no top-flight club has been sufficiently convinced of his qualities to make a bid that cannot be turned down.

His one season in the Premier League of course saw Sheffield United relegated and like a number of his team-mates, Tonge appeared to be feeling the hangover of that during the first-half of the 2007/08 campaign.

The arrival of Kevin Blackwell revived his fortunes to an extent although a return of only 1 goal during the season was a disappointment.

Now approaching what should be his peak years as a footballer, Tonge will be expected to spearhead a promotion push at Bramall Lane this time around and ensure, whether that is succesful or not, that he is playing top-flight football in the 2009/10 season.

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