Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder has asked Billy Sharp, Chris Basham and John Brayford to be his dressing room lieutenants next season.
But Wilder, who took charge of the League One club seven weeks ago, insisted that adopting an inclusive approach does not mean matters such as tactics and team selection are open for debate as preparations for the new campaign begin in earnest.
Wilder, a United supporter and former player, said: “We’ve got players who it would be remiss of me not to involve. Billy, Bash and Bray. I’ve had an insight into the place but I’ve not been at the coalface. They have. They are good guys too. I know they are and the door is always open.”
“I’m not going to canvass everybody’s opinion on what team we should play, what formation we should have or stuff like that,” Wilder added. “There has to be leadership, a structure, and there will be.
“But we don’t want robots either. We want human beings and their characters have to come out in training and in games. They, the players, have got a massive part to play. The biggest part. That’s obvious.”
United reported back for training on Monday as Wilder, who led Northampton Town to promotion from League Two last term, presses ahead with his overhaul of the first team squad. Mark Duffy and Chris Hussey have arrived from Birmingham City and Bury respectively while talks with more potential signings are at an advanced stage. Central defence is known to be Wilder’s priority following the departures of Jay McEveley, David Edgar and Alex Baptiste although a vacancy for a powerful targetman has also been identified by the 48-year-old and his assistant Alan Knill.
“The two most important parts of the football club are, off the pitch, the supporters and, on the pitch, the players,” Wilder said. “We need a good group and that’s what we are assembling because they run the changing room. The attitude is run by me going across things. But they look after it.
“I’m not asking them to come running to me saying ‘he’s been out a few minutes too late’ or ‘he’s been up to this that or the other.’ They aren’t policemen and I’m not asking them to be. That’s not what this is about.
“Everyone knows what their professional responsibilities are.”
Meanwhile, United are continuing to hold talks with Dean Hammond and Martyn Woolford after they were declared surplus to requirement following Adkins’ departure last month.