Sheffield United: ‘Blades are right to look at home-grown talent’

Nigel Adkins (left) and his assistant Andy Crosby are big believers in promoting young players, says midfielder Dean Hammond 
�2016 Sport Image all rights reserved
Nigel Adkins (left) and his assistant Andy Crosby are big believers in promoting young players, says midfielder Dean Hammond �2016 Sport Image all rights reserved
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Dean Hammond has endorsed Sheffield United’s decision to place home-grown talent at the heart of their plans to transform the club’s fortunes.

Despite beginning the process of identifying targets for what is expected to be a major overhaul of Bramall Lane’s first team squad, manager Nigel Adkins signalled his intention to also promote from within by handing Ben Whiteman, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Graham Kelly senior roles last month.

Graham Kelly is now working with the League One club's first team squad after graduating from the Steelphalt Academy 
�2016 Sport Image all rights reserved

Graham Kelly is now working with the League One club's first team squad after graduating from the Steelphalt Academy �2016 Sport Image all rights reserved

Hammond, whose own future will also be resolved at the end of the season, said: “The enthusiasm the young lads have got keeps everyone else young too, the enthusiasm they have. Credit to the manager and the club for giving them the chance. The gaffer is brilliant at that. If you come in to first team training and make an impression then you’ll get a chance and that’s great. Some of them, let me tell you, have got really good careers ahead of them.”

Hammond, on loan from Leicester City, becomes a free agent when his contract at the KP Stadium expires this summer and, despite the downward pressure on United’s budget as they contemplate another season in League One, is regarded by Adkins as the perfect mentor for his younger team mates.

Hammond, the former Southampton and Colchester midfielder, added: “They are good lads. They have been brought up the right way and have respect for their elders. But we have respect for them too. We can learn things from them as well, their enthusiasm to go out there and play. We bounce off each other.”

United’s under-21’s suffered their first defeat in 18 games when they were beaten by Colchester at Stocksbridge earlier this week but the under-18’s dispatched Coventry City 3-0 with Jordan Hallam scoring his 22nd and 23rd goals of the season either side of Brodie Litchfield’s strike.

David Brooks was recently named on the bench for a first team fixture

David Brooks was recently named on the bench for a first team fixture

Ben Whiteman has impressed since progressing through the youth system

Ben Whiteman has impressed since progressing through the youth system