Sheffield United: Long delighted with new boss

George Long's performances for England Under-20 will be monitored by United's new manager
George Long's performances for England Under-20 will be monitored by United's new manager
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Sheffield United goalkeeper George Long is relishing the prospect of playing for David Weir after receiving glowing reports about the new manager’s credentials.

Long, who is preparing to represent England at this summer’s FIFA under-20 World Cup, admitted he grilled other members of Peter Taylor’s squad about Danny Wilson’s successor following his arrival at Bramall Lane.

Former Sheffield Wednesday loanee Ross Barkley and John Stones, previously of Barnsley, are among four Everton players named in the 21 strong party.

Weir made over 250 appearances for the Liverpudlians before returning to join their backroom staff 16 months ago and Long told The Star: “As soon as I discovered he’d got the job the first thing I did was ask all of the lads from Goodison Park about him.

“They all said exactly the same thing. That David Weir is a really nice guy and a brilliant coach.

“I don’t think the Everton boys were surprised that I was picking their brains about him. Asking what he was like.

“None of them had a bad word to say. Exactly the opposite in fact. They couldn’t praise him highly enough.”

Weir, aged 43, will monitor Long’s progress through the tournament in Turkey after taking charge of United last week.

England face Iraq and Chile in Antalya later this month before completing their Group E campaign against African champions Egypt on June 29.

Long added: “It’s a massive honour just to be involved with England but hopefully I can impress in training and get some minutes under my belt.

“Peter Taylor is really good to work for because he likes a laugh and a joke but knows when it’s time to get serious about work.”

Weir took charge of United last week after signing a three-year contract with the League One club.

Gareth Southgate, who also featured on United’s short-list, could be set to take charge of England’s Under-21’s if Stuart Pearce’s tenure is not renewed.

Michael Appleton, previously of Portsmouth and Blackburn Rovers, has supporters at the FA but Southgate’s previous experience of the organisation has given him an edge in the race.