United boss Keith Curle made 833 appearances in his playing days, in a career that spanned almost 25 years, and was quick to praise defender Clint Hill who reached the impressive 650-appearance mark against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday.
“He’s a player who has looked after himself and it’s no surprise that the majority of those appearances have been starts,” he said. “I’ve said a number of times that he’s built his career on doing the simple things well, and that’s what has made him such a valued player at the clubs he’s been with.
“I’ve known him for many years, I actually scouted him for Palace when he was still at Stoke, and he brings a good level of consistency with his game.
“We’ve seen how those around him are learning from the way he conducts himself and he’s become a very popular member of the squad. He looks after himself, he trains the way he plays, and he’s the kind of player who could easily keep going until he decides it’s time to take the next step in his career.”
On the clean sheet picked up against the Owls at the weekend, he said: “Clint had to check at half time that his GPS monitor was still working, because I think he’d only moved about 300 yards in the first half.
“I think he went from the edge of the 18-yard box up to the middle of our half in a straight line. That shows that we weren’t being stretched or opened up. We dealt with what came into the box very well against a team who can produce quality deliveries.
“They had a big physical presence up front, but we nullified a lot of their threats. I don’t know exactly how many shots they had in the second half – they had one which hit the post – but I think Jack [Bonham] had that covered anyway.
“Jack made a good save after that but, apart from that, I don’t think they had many other chances. Defensively we looked very solid and every member of the team played their part. What we’re looking for now is consistency across the board, from every player, and then the results will take care of themselves.”