SHEFFIELD UNITED: Youngsters urged to follow in duo’s footsteps

Sheffield United: Blades news and reports.
Sheffield United: Blades news and reports.
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SHEFFIELD United academy chief John Pemberton has challenged his players to emulate the progress of Callum McFadzean and Joe Ironside by forcing themselves into Danny Wilson’s first team squad.

Pemberton, whose side begin their Professional Development League Two campaign with a home fixture against Coventry City this morning, revealed how the duo’s efforts during pre-season have sent a new shockwave of positivity rippling through Shirecliffe.

Speaking earlier this week, United manager Wilson endorsed the club’s decision to place home-grown talent at the heart of its future plans.

Noting the transfer market has been relatively depressed this summer compared to recent years, he said: “Bringing through your own players, developing them, is absolutely crucial now.

“You’ve seen that, with one or two exceptions, people just aren’t spending the money they once were.

“Not just here, but everywhere. It’s across the board.”

The emergence of Ironside, McFadzean and Elliot Whitehouse could not have come at a better time for United as they battle to comply with the Salary Cost Management Protocol - adopted by League One clubs two months ago - which pegs spending at 65 per cent of total turnover.

Members have been warned that any breach will be punished by a transfer embargo with FL officials refusing to register those players whose presence takes their employers beyond that threshold.

Pemberton, who oversaw United’s march into the 2011 FA Youth Cup final, acknowledged: “We’re aiming to produce good players rather than good teams because, if you produce good players, then you invariably get a good team anyway.”

Meanwhile, former United goalkeeper Steve Simonsen has joined League One rivals Preston North End on a one year contract.