DANNY Wilson, the Sheffield United manager, is encouraged by the conveyor belt of talent coming through at Bramall Lane.
Although the Blades were knocked out of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy in midweek, Wilson blooded several youngsters from the club’s famed academy system against Coventry City.
Wilson handed Callum McFadzean, aged 18, his first Blades start in a much weakened side. He also brought on Jordan Chapell, recalled from Burton Albion earlier this week, Joe Ironside and Diego De Girolamo as second-half replacements. Promising teenager De Girolamo’s appearance came just weeks after he penned a professional contract.
Young striker Ironside showed his nerve from 12 yards but United lost 4-1 in the shoot-out to fall at the quarter-final stage of the competition for the second successive season.
Wilson said: “I don’t think, performance wise, we were brilliant (at Coventry) but we weren’t too bad either and there were positives to take.
“One of those was seeing how the youngsters did. I thought, against a very experienced Coventry team, they did very well.
“Callum (McFadzean) looked good on the ball after starting although his legs went a bit towards the end and that’s to be expected a bit really.
“Diego (De Girolamo) showed some good touches and a good attitude too. He was confident but he wasn’t the only one. It will be really good experience for them. They have given us great hope for the future. It showed one or two could cope with a big stadium like this and it was a big game for them.”