Blades reveal development plans

Tyler Smith (right) helped Sheffield United win the under-18 PDL League Two play-off final: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
Tyler Smith (right) helped Sheffield United win the under-18 PDL League Two play-off final: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
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Members of Sheffield United’s title-winning academy squad could be set to leave Bramall Lane next season after Chris Wilder admitted he would “love” to see them follow in the footsteps of Ben Whiteman and Louis Reed by experiencing spells on loan with rival clubs.

Regan Slater and Tyler Smith, who helped Derek Geary’s side win the PDL2 under-18 play-off final, are among those being considered for moves while team mate Jordan Hallam has also impressed in recent months.

Back row from left: Horatio Hirst, Rhys Norrington-Davies, David Parkhouse, Hugo Warhurst, Harvey Gilmour and Sam Graham. Front row from left: Thomas Charlesworth, George Cantrell, Regan Slater, Jordan Hallam and Tyler Smith ahead of the Professional Development League play-off final: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Back row from left: Horatio Hirst, Rhys Norrington-Davies, David Parkhouse, Hugo Warhurst, Harvey Gilmour and Sam Graham. Front row from left: Thomas Charlesworth, George Cantrell, Regan Slater, Jordan Hallam and Tyler Smith ahead of the Professional Development League play-off final: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Wilder, who orchestrated Whiteman’s switch to Mansfield Town last term, recently granted permission for him to join Doncaster Rovers on a temporary contract while Reed is expected to replace his fellow midfielder at Field Mill.

Acknowledging younger graduates of the league One champions’ youth system might benefit from the approach, United’s manager said: “We’ve put a lot of money into these players; contracts, coaching, facilities. We’re not going to just toss them aside.

“They have to be good enough and they have to improve. I’ve love to see them go out next year and follow Ben’s example.”

Slater and Hallam both made their senior debuts during November’s Checkatrade Trophy victory over Grimsby Town while Smith is also highly-regarded.

Captain Regan Slater: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Captain Regan Slater: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

“They (Whiteman and Reed) have played enough (under) 23 games,” Wilder said. “We look at the ‘23’s’ as lads who have finished playing their ‘18’s’ and are ready to move up, like Regan Slater and Tyler Smith.”