Sheffield United: '˜Brexit Blades'? I've never said I wouldn't sign a foreign player, says Wilder

It started off as something of a novelty, an excuse, after spending six years in the League One shadows, to enjoy some national coverage.

Sunday, 1st April 2018, 2:00 pm
Chris Wilder

But when Chris Wilder read the headline splashed above the article, Sheffield United’s manager realised why the journalist from a well-known newspaper had been so keen to discuss the make-up of his squad. And that the ‘Brexit Boys’ tag, despite being wholly inaccurate, would almost certainly stick.

“Let’s talk about recruitment,” Wilder implored ahead of tonight’s meeting with Cardiff City. “I’ve never once said about not signing foreign players.”

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Wilder makes no apology for the fact United’s players are mostly British. But, as United prepared for the visit of Neil Warnock’s side, his irritation at attempts to paint the club as narrow-minded is barely concealed. The demographics at Bramall Lane have been dictated by budgets and, given the relatively modest sums at their disposal, a need to minimise risk.

“We’re out there but we have to get value for money,” Wilder continued. “And last year, first and foremost, it was important to get out of the division quickly. But there’s no closed door here, we’re not a blinkered football club. We’ll look all over the place to try and make us get better.”

Despite the fact United still have a minimum of seven games left, a figure which could rise if they secure a top-six finish, Wilder has already begun the process of identifying his targets for the summer window.

“The players don’t change,” he said. “The numbers will to get the quality in to go to the next level. The work ethic won’t and the character won’t.

“You sign players who drive you forward and make you better on both an individual and collective level. You keep adding. There’s the experience, of players who are already here too, of being in this division. That makes them better and more valuable.

“That’s part of the development and the process you have to go through if you want sustained success at a club, which, of course, we do.”