Sheffield United: Bramall Lane's '˜loan rangers' are being closely monitored by manager and his staff

The title read 'We see you' and the folk responsible for Sheffield United's social media output also attached a video of his goals against Swindon to the body of the tweet.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 20 November, 2018, 13:06
Regan Slater has already played for Sheffield United's first team: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

It confirmed Regan Slater's performances on loan at Carlisle are not going unnoticed. Both in the Championship club's public relations department and, even more importantly, the bootroom at Bramall Lane.

The midfielder, who has been earmarked as a potential first teamer of the future by Chris Wilder and his staff, is among a number of Steelphalt Academy graduates completing the next phase of their education after leaving the youth ranks. United's manager believes experiencing competitive football, "proper football" as he calls it, is far more beneficial than another prolonged spell in the development game. So the best up-and-coming players are routinely farmed-out elsewhere before, after studying their report cards, a view is taken on whether or not they are suitable for permanent positions within the 51-year-old's squad.

The footage of Slater powering past defenders and smashing two unstoppable shots into the back of Lawrence Vigouroux's net suggests it is a policy set to deliver results. Maybe not in the short-term, as United jockey for position at the top of the Championship. But if Slater and his contemporaries continue to impress then pre-season, when Wilder truly has time to pause and take stock, could offer almost limitless possibilities for those with the talent and potential required to build professional careers.

Slater, aged 19, has already made three appearances for United after catching the manager's eye last term.

John Sheridan, Wilder's good friend and counterpart at Brunton Park, is pleased with what he has witnessed since too.

"He's only young and you can see what a good player he's going to be," the former Republic of Ireland international said following Slater's brace at the County Ground. "He's what, five foot three and weighs about eight stone? But there's just something about him '“ this arrogance, not as a lad but as a footballer."

Regan Slater played for Sheffield United during pre-season: James Wilson/Sportimage

"He goes out there and thinks he's six foot five on the pitch," Sheridan added. "We had really good reports from Sheffield United (when Slater signed). Chris is a good mate of mine and I'm thankful he let him come to us. I think Chris believes that if he comes to us, he's going to come back to them a better player."

United's 'On-loan Brigade' can be split into two distinct camps: Those progressing through the system and older professionals in need of regular games. Slater's recent exploits have placed him at the forefront of the former although Callum Semple is also earning excellent reviews at Queen if the South. Tyler Smith, Harvey Gilmour and Sam Graham have also made encouraging starts to the campaign after being placed with lower league clubs. David Parkhouse, a Northern Ireland under-21 international, joined Boston on a similar basis towards the end of last month.

Although Ricky Holmes and Samir Carruthers are among those facing uncertain futures in South Yorkshire and are likely to move on when the transfer window reopens, Ched Evans appears to most likely member of the second group to granted another opportunity under Wilder. The centre-forward's susceptibility to minor injury remains a cause for concern but six goals in 15 outings for Fleetwood Town suggest his finishing skills are becoming much sharper. Centre-half Ben Heneghan is another who could potentially earn a reprieve if United decide against handing Martin Cranie a new contract in January.

Sheffield United's On-Loan Army:

Callum Semple is playing well for Queen of the South: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

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Regan Slater Club: Carlisle United Position: Midfielder Division: League Two Appearances: 15 Playing Percentage: 65

Tyler Smith Club: Barrow AFC Position: Forward Division: National League Appearances: 19 Playing Percentage: 95

Sam Graham Club: Oldham Athletic Position: Defender Division: League Two Appearances: 9 Playing Percentage: 39

Callum Semple Club: Queen of the South Position: Defender Division: Scottish Championship Appearances: 21 Playing Percentage: 100

Harvey Gilmour worked with Chris Wilder's squad over the summer: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Harvey Gilmour Club: Tranmere Rovers Position: Midfielder Division: League Two Appearances: 16 Playing Percentage: 70

Ched Evans Club: Fleetwood Town Position: Forward Division: League One Appearances: 15 Playing Percentage: 63

Nathan Thomas Club: Notts County Position: Forward Division: League Two Appearances: 17 Playing Percentage: 74

Ricky Holmes Club: Oxford United Position: Midfielder Division: League One Appearances: 16 Playing Percentage: 64

Samir Carruthers Club: Oxford United Position: Midfielder Division: League One Appearances: 6 Playing Percentage: 24

Caolan Lavery Club: Bury Position: Forward Division: League Two Appearances: 3 Playing Percentage: 13

Ben Heneghan Club: Blackpool Position: Defender Division: League One Appearances: 18 Playing Percentage: 72