Why new faces at Sheffield United won't harm spirit in Blades camp

Simon Moore believes the emphasis Chis Wilder places on character when deciding his transfer targets means the team spirit which helped Sheffield United win promotion last season will be even stronger next term.

Wednesday, 12th July 2017, 9:33 pm
Updated Tuesday, 18th July 2017, 7:54 am
Sheffield United players warm up at the pre-season training camp in Marbella

With the character and camaraderie of Wilder’s squad cited as major factors behind its march to the League One title, fears have been expressed that an influx of new faces could have an adverse effect upon the atmosphere behind the scenes at Bramall Lane.

But Moore, speaking from United’s training camp in Spain, insisted longer-serving players welcome the “extra competition” for places because they trust Wilder to bring the “right people” in.

Paul Coutts and Simon Moore at Sheffield United's training camp in Spain

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“The new lads have just come on board and slotted in straight away,” the goalkeeper said. “They are good lads and bring healthy competition, good competition if you like.

“From the outside looking in, it might seem difficult, working in an environment like that. But if you want to go to work and be successful, you have to work as a team. There’s lots of clubs with fantastic individuals but who don’t work as a team. But I think we’ve got fantastic individuals and also that team spirit. When you bring the two together, it’s a powerful thing.”

Wilder has signed five players - Ched Evans, Richard Stearman, Enda Stevens, George Baldock and Nathan Thomas - since guiding United back into the Championship. United had hoped to recruit Ricky Holmes from Charlton Athletic but coaching staff were last night phlegmatic about the winger’s decision to agree a new contract with the Londoners.

“Coming away, it’s fantastic for getting the lads together,” Moore said. “You are with each other 24/seven, you bounce off each other and get to know each other even better than you otherwise would. If you look at it last season, the team spirit we had was superb. That’s what got us through some tough Tuesday nights and Saturdays.”

Simon Moore answers some questions during a break in Sheffield United's training camp in Marbella

United’s trip to Spain culminates with a friendly against Malaga on Friday. The Andalusians finished 11th in La Liga last season and manager José Miguel González Martín del Campo, more commonly known as Míchel, could have over 10 full internationals at his disposal for the match.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to test ourselves against a team of that calibre,” Moore, a member of the squad which beat Stocksbridge Park Steels 9-0 last weekend, said. “This will be a different test to Saturday. They’ve got some excellent players. We want to reach those levels so, any chance you get to test yourselves against the best, you take it.”

“It could be a bit more of a test on Friday,” Moore added. “That was probably one of my quieter games (against Stocksbridge). But the lads were sharp and the finishing was of a great standard. There’s going to be a lot of healthy competition next season but we need that because the Championship is a tough division.”

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Chris Wildere and Alan Knill have put a big emphasis on team spirit at Sheffield United

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Paul Coutts and Simon Moore at Sheffield United's training camp in Spain
Simon Moore answers some questions during a break in Sheffield United's training camp in Marbella
Chris Wildere and Alan Knill have put a big emphasis on team spirit at Sheffield United