Candidates promise to trust in youth

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SHEFFIELD United sought an undertaking from applicants vying to become the next manager at Bramall Lane that they would work closely with academy director John Pemberton, The Star has learned.

Although his name does not feature on plc chairman Kevin McCabe’s shortlist, Pemberton is viewed as an integral figure in the new regime.

During his first full season at Shirecliffe, he led the club into their first ever FA Youth Cup Final where the young Blades impressed before losing to Manchester United.

With McCabe insisting that the under-18 and development squads must be viewed as the first port of call for reinforcements following a series of expensive and ill-fated forays into the loan market, several members of the team beaten 6-3 on aggregate earlier this week have been earmarked for prominent roles at senior level next term.

A commitment to ensuring the likes of Jordan Slew, Harry Maguire and Matthew Harriott are afforded opportunities to progress is known to have been one of the first items raised when candidates discussed succeeding Micky Adams with McCabe and his colleagues on United’s board.

Pemberton, speaking after Tuesday’s second leg at Old Trafford, insisted his teenage protegees are equipped to handle the rigours of a League One campaign.

“Some of the them have made their first- team debuts already,” he said. “And those who haven’t are now experienced at playing at great stadiums like Villa Park, Old Trafford and, of course, Bramall Lane.

“We had 30,000 people watching the first leg against Manchester United at Bramall Lane and there was another great crowd at their place but I don’t think our boys were fazed. They handled the situation well and these experiences can only serve them well.

“It’s a crucial part of their development. You find out a lot about players in situations like that and, just as importantly, they find out a lot about themselves too.

“It can only stand them in really good stead for the future.”