Neil Warnock today made his first loan signing of the season in the shape of Stoke City midfielder Michael Tonge. The midfielder joins the club until December and is likely to go straight into the squad for the game with Cardiff City this weekend.
Tonge joins a fairly large contingent of former Sheffield United players at Elland Road in Michael Brown, Paddy Kenny, Andy Gray and Leigh Bromby who have all played under Neil Warnock before. Since leaving Yorkshire for Stoke City in 2008, Tonge has found opportunites hard to come by though and United's new signing has spent time on loan at Preston North End, Derby County and Barnsley.
Speaking about his move, Michael Tonge had the following to say to the official site:
"It makes it easier when you know the manager because he knows what sort of player you are. It'll make it easiest to settle in. I'd have jumped at the chance to come here whatever, but with the gaffer I had no hesitation.
We had a lot of good seasons at Sheff United and I enjoyed working under him. If you play for him you do enjoy it. That's the case with a lot of the lads and why a lot do want to play for him.
It's been a few years since I worked with the gaffer but it feels like two minutes once you slip back into it.
I know a few of the lads here as well. I know Paddy, Browny, Pughy from Stoke, and Paul Green from when I was at Derby. It's always easier if you know people. From what everyone says it's a good group and you can see the spirit between them. That will take them team a long way.
I've not played first team football this year but if you're not playing they keep you fit. I'm as fit as you can be, and I need to play. I went out on loan last season and didn't play as much as I wanted to.
At this time of my career I need to play as much as I can, and I'll work hard and try and force my way into the team. There's some really good players so it isn't going to be easy, but I have to do as well as I can. When the injured players come back, it bodes well for good competition in the squad.
I'm in my last year at Stoke and obviously I'm going to be moving at some point so this is an opportunity to show myself and play at this level. I just need to get playing and enjoying my football because training and not playing at the end of the week isn't good."
"There's a number of players I've been looking at with the injuries we have. It was vital we did something in time for Cardiff.
Michael hasn't been involved with the first team, but he's played some under-21 games so he's fit. He knows how I play, I don't have to explain things, and he'll fit in well with what we have here.
A loan had to be someone we wanted and Michael fits the category and I think he'll fit in well. He's desperate to do well. I like that, and I like him as a person. He gives us that passing ability we maybe don't have and he'll fit in well.
It's about fitting the ingredients and he's in the Norris/Green mould which is what we want. He's excited and couldn't wait to get started.
There was a lot of names bandied about, but I said we would wait for him so I'm pleased."