‘Kid gloves’ time

FA YOUTH CUP FINAL 2nd Leg......Manchester Utd v Sheffield Utd.....Skipper Elliott whitehouse
FA YOUTH CUP FINAL 2nd Leg......Manchester Utd v Sheffield Utd.....Skipper Elliott whitehouse
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SHEFFIELD United will refuse to gamble with the careers of their young players despite concerns about the size of manager Danny Wilson’s squad.

SHEFFIELD United will refuse to gamble with the careers of their young players despite concerns about the size of manager Danny Wilson’s squad.

United, who return to League One action when arch-rivals Sheffield Wednesday visit Bramall Lane on Sunday, cemented their reputation as one of the region’s leading development centres by reaching the FA Youth Cup final last season.

Wilson, who recently challenged members of John Pemberton’s academy to press their claims for a senior call-up, told The Star ahead of Sunday’s Steel City derby that he remains committed to utilising home-grown talent after making a similar claim following his May appointment.

But he warned supporters excited by the emergence of teenagers such as Harry Maguire and George Long that “a number of factors” must be considered before exposing their contemporaries to first team competition.

“Bringing youngsters through is not always as simple as it looks,” said Wilson.

“We’ve got some cracking ones here but that doesn’t mean to say you haven’t got to be careful with them.

“Doing something wrong could actually hinder their careers and nobody wants that.

“There are a number of variables you’ve got to look at before deciding to pitch someone in, a number of factors.”

Wilson added: “For a start, it helps if you can pick the game they come in to carefully.

“Different types of opposition present different challenges and if they’re ready and they suit a particular match then that’s when you want to put them in.

“The last thing you

want is to end up having someone running around, watching the ball fly past them and hardly getting a touch because that serves no purpose and, confidence wise, could actually set them back.

“Obviously, they can’t always come in when it’s ideal.

“But you do want to make the transition as easy as possible for anyone coming through.

“That goes without saying.”

Elliott Whitehouse, who captained Pemberton’s side en

route to their double-header with Manchester United, is the latest player from Shirecliffe whose cause is being championed.

Although Wilson revealed last week that the 17-year-old is “very much in our thoughts”, he is unlikely to be involved against Wednesday.

“We’re keeping our eyes on him,” said Wilson. “I feel he now needs to be tested at the next level up.”

United’s reserves continue their Central League campaign at Stoke City tomorrow. (kick-off 2pm).

David McAllister was on target when they were beaten 2-1 by Walsall last month.

Chris Morgan’s side beat Burton Albion in their opening CL match.

Whitehouse and Danny Philliskirk (2) were both on target.