Warnock's Tonge request
By Alex Dunn
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Sheffield United boss Neil Warnock has told Michael Tonge to toughen up.
Sheffield United boss Neil Warnock has told Michael Tonge that as soon as he adds graft to his craft then he could become a complete midfielder.
The 23-year-old schemer has always been highly rated at Bramall Lane but has found opportunities scarce on United's return to the top flight since returning from injury.
However, in the club's 2-0 defeat of Fulham on Tuesday, Tonge started and put in a fine shift against his former team-mate Michael Brown.
Warnock believes Tonge rose to the occasion impressively and in winning a personal battle, may have handed himself a genuine confidence boost for the rest of the campaign.
"I've been saying to him for a long time he has it all in his locker," said Warnock.
"Against Fulham I asked him to win headers and tackles, as well as make us play.
"If you saw the number of headers he won in his own box, that is quite remarkable for Michael Tonge.
"When he puts his mind to it, he can do all that. Sometimes I just don't think he is aware of what he is capable of.
"He's got all the attributes, but he has to do the dirty work, and he can do it. It's just sometimes he probably doesn't think he has to do it.
"The other night there was no option because Michael Brown would have sorted him out if he hadn't have been ready to do that.
"Maybe he should think he's playing against Michael Brown every week! But I do have to keep talking to him about it because the scruffy part of the game is the part that gets you playing.
"When you can play as good as he does, then if you can do the nitty gritty stuff, your skill will always come through.
"That's what happened on Tuesday, and he set himself standards he now has to live up to. Only time will tell if he can."