Nigel Adkins is ready to hand starring roles to Bramall Lane’s latest crop of exciting young talent after insisting their “attitude” can help catapult Sheffield United into the Championship next season.
Although Adkins last night acknowledged players such as Che Adams and Ben Whiteman still have much to learn, he will refuse to remove them from the firing line as the club’s push for promotion enters a critical phase.
United enter this weekend’s game at Millwall 11th in the League One table and six points behind the play-off positions with only 10 matches remaining.
Adkins, who included six Steelphalt Academy graduates in the squad which beat Oldham Athletic four days ago, said: “Attitude is a big thing for me. Yes, we want athleticism and people who can get around the pitch.
“But the biggest thing is having people who are hungry, who want to improve, learn and get better at what they do. That’s exactly what these lads have shown.”
Confirming he will resist the temptation to put his faith solely in experience between now and the end of the campaign, Adkins added: “Ben had a super game last time out. We had young Reedy (Louis Reed), George Long in goal, Dom (Calvert-Lewin) and don’t forget Billy (Sharp) has come through the system too. Graham (Kelly) was on the bench as well, there’s a pathway.
“I trust in them. Ben has stepped-up and he’s done some really good things in training.
“They’ve got to believe, if they’re good enough then they’ll get an opportunity. Likewise, mentally and physically, they’ll realise that playing in the arena itself can be demanding. They’ll realise what’s required and how hard it can be.”