Alan Biggs: continental approach is the best bet for Sheffield United

One Serb, two Spaniards, an Italian and a Dutchman are now heading up Sheffield United…and the talk has been of evolution, not revolution!

By Alan Biggs
Wednesday, 14th July 2021, 12:00 pm

But it’s not wrong. The Blades might just have the best of both worlds here.

All change off the field, minimal change on the field - but naturally the sharpest focus is on the Blades’ first foreign manager and his continental coaching team.

And I’m siding with my learned friend Kevin Gage in his belief that the timing of this radical culture change is probably for the best.

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Slavisa Jokanovic, the new manager of Sheffield United.

Gage, the former United player now prominent as a pundit and match day host, championed the previous regime as stridently as anyone.

And that is why he felt it vital for the club to avoid comparisons being made with “another English manager” because the one they had was almost beyond compare.

Slavisa Jokanovic won’t carry that baggage and I also think the club’s board, led by Prince Abdullah, has been wise to head in an all-new direction.

It will be important in the dressing room, too, where a nucleus of players fiercely loyal to Chris Wilder are adjusting to different methods and demands.

They don’t have a point of unfavourable comparison, not least because Jokanovic is more than proven after his promotions with Watford and Fulham.

It is a record that naturally commands respect, as it does from supporters.

So there’s plenty of goodwill riding with Jokanovic, Chema Sanz (first team coach), Rafa Cristobal (head of performance) and Marco Cesarini (chief medic).

And let’s not forget the Dutchman who was already in the mix, Jan Van Winckel, effectively the owner’s director of football and a very influential figure no doubt.

Every regime operates differently depending on favoured methods and, rightly or wrongly, the recruitment model is in line with many other clubs.

All that matters is that it benefits the whole and that Sheffield United keep looking like Sheffield United on the field.

A very proud United, too, after the heroic efforts of England’s Harry Maguire and Kyle Walker, backed up by Aaron Ramsdale and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, at the Euros.

And that very traditional “new” home kit is a suitable embellishment!