WHATEVER the result, Sheffield United will deliver a disciplined performance against Blackpool this evening.
Speaking before the FA Youth Cup fifth-round tie, John Pemberton, director of the South Yorkshire club’s academy, revealed he has banned players from wearing coloured boots in an effort to make them focus on football rather than fashion.
“I want people to stand out for what they can do with a ball,” Pemberton told The Star. “Not what they look like.
“It runs right the way through the age groups.
“There are no earrings, no fancy haircuts with tram lines in them, everyone wears shin pads, everyone tucks in their shirts and everyone pulls up their socks.
“Our kit is our uniform and I want people to have pride and respect for it.
“You wouldn’t turn up to any other job looking scruffy and not wearing the correct attire so I don’t see why this one should be any different.”
Pemberton added: “It’s also got to do with easing the pressure on parents.
“We’ve got people from a lot of different backgrounds in the system and I don’t want anyone put in the situation where they feel they’ve got to buy a pair of boots that cost £150 as opposed to £50.
“It’s not about their boots.”
United have beaten Cheltenham Town and Millwall en route to their meeting with Blackpool who are expected to field an experienced team at Bramall Lane.
Pemberton’s squad, by contrast, will feature a large collection of first-year scholars.
“We’ve watched Blackpool, seen two of their DVDs and they’re a good side,” he said. “They play the way their seniors do in the Premier League, are very forward-thinking and have had three lads in the first team recently.
“We like to play football too so I think this should be a really attractive game to watch.
“I’m pretty certain that of the all the teams in the competition we must be the youngest.”
United v Blackpool, Bramall Lane, kick-off 7pm.