Sheffield United: How David McGoldrick impressed Chris Wilder and his coaching staff even before his first training session at Bramall Lane
David McGoldrick impressed Sheffield United's coaching staff long before he began training with Bramall Lane's first team squad, manager Chris Wilder has revealed, after agreeing to join the club on trial.
The former Ipswich Town attacker is expected to make his second appearance in a United jersey later today when the Championship club visit Mansfield Town for its latest pre-season friendly.
Although Wilder described the first - Tuesday's victory over Bradford City - as "class", he explained McGoldrick's willingness to try and earn a contract the hard way rather than simply relying on his reputation has already made a positive impression behind the scenes.
"Attitude-wise, the fact he's willing to do it, there's already a tick there," Wilder said. "He could have sat back, put his feet up, played a bit of tennis and waited for something to come in. But he hasn't and that, at least as far as I'm concerned, tells you something about him."
Despite prioritising two centre-forwards following John Egan's arrival from Brentford, it is easy to understand why United are interested in McGoldrick and McGoldrick is interested in them. The 30-year-old, who hails from nearby Nottingham, boasts the type of Championship experience Wilder felt his team lacked at times last term. So, aware of the player's availability and ability, he decided to canvass the opinion of Mick McCarthy who, after spending six seasons in charge of Town, knows McGoldrick better than most.
"I've maintained all along, I'm not snobby about where we get players from," Wilder said. "Listen, so long as their good players and good characters, I'm not bothered. Other people might be. Honestly, I'm not."
McGoldrick could spread a veneer of ingenuity across an attack which, on last season's evidence, boasts plenty of goals but can be predictable. With David Brooks departing for pastures new earlier this summer, the need for someone with the X-Factor is even more acute. The former Republic of Ireland international pressed his case with an intelligent display at Valley Parade and, perhaps even more importantly, answered questions about his fitness by completing three quarters of the game. McCarthy's claim that the issues which overshadowed the player's swansong at Portman Road were the result of a long commute rather than any inherent weakness appears to be well-founded.
"One hundred per cent, Mick will give you an opinion," Wilder said. "We've still got that identity of working hard, even though we play some really good football. David and Leon (Clarke) were closing the goalkeeper down in a pre-season friendly, that's what it's about. Mick is the same, he wants the same things and if I have half the career he's had then I'll be made up."
McCarthy's words resonated because, as Wilder acknowledged, the two share the same principles. However, it was McGoldrick's performance during January's FA Cup tie between United and Ipswich which piqued the latter's interest.
"I think he could get into quite a few Championship clubs if I'm honest," Wilder continued. "I've spoken to Mick about him and I thought he was excellent against us last year. There's no guarantees but he's willing to come in and we're willing to have a look at him. Why wouldn't we? It makes perfect sense."
Although Wilder is expected to have a near full strength squad at his disposal following John Lundstram's return to training, Mansfield could be without Danny Rose. The striker, their leading goalscorer last term, injured a toe during their recent win over Derby County and will join David Mirfin (knee) and Zander Diamond (back) on the sidelines.