Michael Tonge enjoying return to Leeds United action

 

Forgotten man Michael Tonge is enjoying being back in first-team picture at Leeds, and is thankful a problematic shoulder injury has not ruled him out of tonight's Capital One Cup tie with Southampton.

A decade ago the Manchester-born midfielder was one of the rising stars of the game as he made his name with Sheffield United, excelling in an unfancied team which made the semi-finals of both domestic cups while in the Championship and under the management of Neil Warnock.

International honours duly arrived with the England Under-21s before a move to Stoke in 2008 - after over 300 appearances for the Blades - gave him a shot at the big time.

Injury and the form of others means he has made just one league start in over four years for the Potters, though, and a number of fruitless loan spells have seen him hawked back around the Championship.

He returned to the wing of former mentor Warnock at Leeds earlier this season, however, and has excelled for the Whites, returning to the form he displayed all those years ago.

After shaking off a shoulder injury he feared would disrupt his time at Elland Road, he is now looking forward to tonight's fourth-round tie with the Saints.

"I was pleased to get back in the team for Saturday's game with Birmingham," he said. "I didn't start in midweek against Charlton because of the injury, but I am just enjoying being back playing and playing in every game I can.

"My shoulder has knocked me back a bit, but I am getting better by the day and am over the worst of it. Hopefully I will get more chances to play over the coming weeks because we have a lot of games.

"The injury was a frustrating one, but also fortunate because it came against Barnsley the week before the international break. It was an unusual one, really sore, but I'm glad to be back playing and involved now."

The 29-year-old is expected to be in the starting line-up named by Warnock tonight as the manager looks to make his daughter Amy's wish of seeing him manage at Wembley come true.

The veteran boss was a regular visitor to the national stadium in the 1990s, but has yet to man the touchlines at the rebuilt arena.

That is why, according to assistant boss Mick Jones, Warnock's interest in the competition is higher than his coaching staff's.

"I think it's brilliant for the club and its profile" Jones said. "The win over Everton in the last game was tremendous and everybody loved that, but to be honest, my mind is 30% tonight and 70% on Friday night against Brighton, because I know which is the most important.

"But Neil... Neil would love to manage at Wembley, love to. Top managers don't set sights on preferences but if Leeds United get to Wembley with Neil Warnock as manager, he would absolutely love it."

As one of Warnock's long-standing foot soldiers, Jones knows Warnock better than most too.

"It's spoken about (making his daughter's wish come true)," Jones added.

"Sometimes with Neil you can read between the lines, I can anyway, and I have no doubt what he wants tonight."

PA

News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
Arts and Entertainment
The Plaza Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia was one of the 300 US cinemas screening
filmTim Walker settles down to watch the controversial gross-out satire
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in Tim Burton's Big Eyes
film reviewThis is Tim Burton’s most intimate and subtle film for a decade
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music14 more 'Rebel Heart' tracks leaked including Pharrell Williams collaboration
Sport
Rooney celebrates with striker-partner Radamel Falcao after the pair combine to put United ahead
footballManchester United vs Newcastle match report
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all