Sheffield United: Academy achieve results as Cox is headhunted

Nick Cox has impressed since joining Sheffield United's Steelpaht Academy

� BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY
Nick Cox has impressed since joining Sheffield United's Steelpaht Academy � BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY

Sheffield United’s Steelphalt Academy, who have begun the search for a new manager after Nick Cox was headhunted by one of the world’s biggest clubs, are set to see more graduates handed chances at first team level next season.

Nigel Adkins delivered the pledge after reiterating his desire to eventually see “50 per cent” of United’s squad made up of home-grown players having been impressed by the quality within Bramall Lane’s youth system.

Ben Whiteman (left) is expected to enjoy more opportunities next season 
�2016 Sport Image all rights reserved

Ben Whiteman (left) is expected to enjoy more opportunities next season �2016 Sport Image all rights reserved

The club’s success in developing players was highlighted when Cox, who has impressed since moving to South Yorkshire from Watford in 2012, accepted a key position with Manchester United earlier this month. Although United have yet to officially confirm his departure, The Star understands applications from potential replacements have already been received with interviews expected to be conducted over the coming weeks.

“I’m someone who has always had a huge interest and respect for academies,” Adkins, the United manager, said. “The work being done here is excellent and we want to keep on driving that forward. Striving to improve at everything we do.”

United’s youth system, recently named as the best in the region by researchers working on behalf of Elite Player Performance Plan chiefs, has produced more excellent results this season with Ben Whiteman, Graham Kelly, Aaron Ramsdale and Domnic Calvert-Lewin among the latest group of graduates to make the breakthrough at first team level.

Ramsdale, an England youth international, impressed as United’s under-18 squad reached the Professional Development League final with a 3-1 win over Watford last weekend while the under-21’s are preparing for their forthcoming PDL semi-final.

Goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale is mobbed by his Sheffield United team mates

Goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale is mobbed by his Sheffield United team mates

Defender and academy graduate Graham Kelly is a huge talent 
�2016 Sport Image all rights reserved

Defender and academy graduate Graham Kelly is a huge talent �2016 Sport Image all rights reserved