Chris Wilder was asked recently what Louis Reed, Ben Whiteman and other players on the periphery of Sheffield United’s starting eleven must do to make his team.
Train hard, perform well and be ready to take an opportunities whenever they arise, was the first part of his answer. The second, which focused on how squad members are expected to interact with their colleagues when out-of-favour, revealed plenty about the type of environment Wilder is trying to build behind the scenes.
“The lads who aren’t in at the moment are still in our thoughts and plans,” he said. “But, if you aren’t involved in a game, you should still be helping your team mates to get ready and prepare. The same goes for training in the week. That group ethic is what we want. It’s not a threat but you have to buy into it if you want to be a part of things here.”
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Wilder, who confirmed former Manchester United and Hull City winger Cameron Stewart has joined fellow trialist Reece Brown at Bramall Lane, also confirmed any new arrivals will not jump above the likes of Reed and Whiteman in the race for selection.
“We have to give players opportunities but my main priority is to make us as strong as possible,” he added. “If the group is too big, it’s not good. Everyone has to feel they have a chance of getting in. And I think that’s happening now. The challenge is not being good two games ago. Be good in your last game and your next one too. You have to create that type of atmosphere.”
Meanwhile, under-18’s coach Derek Geary has praised his players after watching them record a fifth victory in six outings last weekend. Jordan Hallam scored twice as United remained top of the Professional Development League courtesy of a 2-0 win over Colchester.
“It’s been a terrific start from what is a talented group of players,” Geary said. “Credit to Colchester, they came and gave us a real tough test but we defend well, remained resolute and managed the game.”