Hard life ahead, says voice of experience

Richard Cresswell
Richard Cresswell
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EXPERIENCED forward Richard Cresswell has warned Sheffield United’s young starlets that League One will “not be a walk in the park”.

Given the urgency in which the cash-strapped Blades need to slash their wage bill, the club’s up-and-coming prospects are poised to take centre stage at Bramall Lane this season.

Step up: Harry Maguire and co will notice a big difference from youth-team football if they play regularly, says Richard Cresswell.

Step up: Harry Maguire and co will notice a big difference from youth-team football if they play regularly, says Richard Cresswell.

Jordan Slew, Harry Maguire and Matthew Harriot are expected to feature prominently in United’s squad following the departures of high earners Darius Henderson and Mark Yeates, while Ched Evans, Stephen Quinn and Nick Montgomery could also be sold before the end of the transfer window to ease the club’s financial worries..

“I know what it is like in this league so if they (the youngsters) think it is going to be a walk in the park then they have got another thing coming,” Cresswell told The Star. “It is a step up from youth-team football.

“The professional game is completely different. Some young players can handle it and some can’t. Only time will tell as to how they will do.”

United, of course, reached the FA Youth Cup Final for the first time in their history earlier this year, losing 6-3 on aggregate to Manchester United in the competition.

Cresswell, aged 33, added: “John Pemberton (academy director) did a great job with them last year. They had a small taste of the big time and of playing in front of the big

crowds, but it is a lot different when you need to step up to the plate in professional football.

“I’m sure most of them can do well. They are quality, young, enthusiastic players and I’m sure the fans will get right behind them and so will the senior players.”

Danny Wilson, who will take charge of his first competitive match at Oldham on Saturday, has said he is reluctant on relying too heavily on youth.

“There are some very good young players at this club but are they ready for the first team and 46 games? No,” he stated.

Centre-back Kyle Bartley has signed a new contract with Arsenal.

Bartley spent spells on loan with the Blades and then Scottish Premier League champions Rangers last season, making 32 appearances overall.

It is thought he has agreed a two-year contract extension with the north London club.