Manager Chris Wilder has explained why goalkeeper George Long impressed Sheffield United’s coaching staff during yesterday’s FA Cup rout of Leyton Orient, despite spending all of the first-round tie on the substitutes’ bench.
Long, the former England youth international, has not played a game since August after losing his place in the starting 11 following Simon Moore’s arrival at Bramall Lane.
With Moore rested as a precautionary measure ahead of Sunday’s League One derby with Chesterfield, the 23-year-old’s hopes of a recall were dashed when Aaron Ramsdale was handed his debut against Alberto Cavasin’s side.
Wilder described himself as “pleased” by Ramsdale’s performance as United beat the Londoners 6-0, and Long’s conduct after the final whistle drew further praise.
“It’s been a really tough period for George,” the United manager said. “But he was waiting on the pitch at the end to shake Aaron’s hand and that does not go unnoticed by me. The right tracks are not always on the pitch for me. The right tracks are also the kind of attitude that George has shown out there.”
With Ramsdale named in the England under-19 squad for the forthcoming European Championship qualifiers, Long is expected to make his return when United visit Grimsby Town in the Checkatrade Trophy on Wednesday evening.
“I told all the boys in the dressing room afterwards, even the injured ones, and highlighted what George had done,” Wilder added.