Nigel Adkins, the Sheffield United manager, today insisted Jose Baxter has been made aware of his responsibilities after officials at Bramall Lane revealed the midfielder was “disciplined” following an off-the-pitch incident last weekend.
Adkins, speaking at a prearranged media briefing, again refused to elaborate on the nature of the incident which prompted Baxter to be censured or the punishment involved. But, attempting to draw a line under the matter, he insisted coaching staff were now fully focused on the forthcoming FA Cup tie against Oldham Athletic.
“Everyone is well aware I am very strong on discipline at the football club,” Adkins said. “If someone steps out of line, they get disciplined and that’s what we have done with Jose on this situation. We have done it with other players in the past. It’s put to bed from our point of view, no more further comments, and we get on. We have talked about it, had our own review of what’s gone on, and Jose has been disciplined.”
United issued a statement on the matter last night which acknowledged they were: “Aware of an incident over the weekend, which involved Jose Baxter.”
“This morning (Wednesday) he has been disciplined by the club,” it continued. “Sheffield United will not comment further on this issue.”
Baxter, aged 23, missed United’s draw with Barnsley five days ago after sustaining an injury during last month’s defeat by Shrewsbury Town. He moved to South Yorkshire in 2013 after making 50 appearances for Athletic. Baxter, a former England youth international, became the youngest player to start a Premier League fixture for Everton when he faced West Bromwich Albion during the 2008/09 season.
“Jose was injured for Saturday’s game, he got injured against Shrewsbury at half-time,” Adkins, speaking ahead of this weekend’s second round fixture, said. “He got a nasty blow to the leg. Jose has been doing well for us this season, that’s seven goals he has for us now.
“He’s been one of the pivotal figures in the team this season. A very good attacking midfield player, he’s got talent. He’s a young lad, and like all players, learning his way in the world.
“People sometimes do things which they will regret later on in life, or regret at the time, and they need to know the consequences of that. We have to make sure we are here to help them understand what discipline is all about.”
“Jose didn’t play at the weekend because he was injured,” Adkins added. “Something’s gone on where he stepped out of line, and as a football club we have done what we needed to from a discipline point of view.”