"Right mentality" - Sheffield United's youth setup hailed after latest youngster moves out on loan

Former Sheffield United coach Darren Currie has paid tribute to the work done in the Blades’ academy to prepare their players for senior football, after taking another of the club’s bright prospects to Southend this week.

Friday, 7th January 2022, 11:56 am

Currie, the nephew of United’s greatest ever player Tony, worked with Graham Coughlan as the Blades’ U23s coach at the back end of last season when Paul Heckingbottom stepped up to take caretaker charge of the first-team, and helped the young Blades secure their league title.

Currie is now an assistant at Southend, and was instrumental in signing Zak Brunt and Kacper Lopata on loan from United earlier this season. When Brunt returned to Bramall Lane after his initial loan ended, later to join Notts County, Currie again tapped into his knowledge of United’s youth set-up to recommend Harrison Neal as Brunt’s replacement.

Neal, United’s U23 captain, had impressed on loan at Kettering Town and makes the step up to the National League for the rest of the season, with Lopata – who is also scheduled to remain in Essex until the summer – likening him to Roy Keane in an interview this week.

“The one thing I’d say about Harrison, and like I’d say about Kacper and Brunty as well, is that it’s credit to work that they do at Sheffield United, that these young boys who have the right mentality to go and play senior football,” Currie told the Southend Echo.

“They’re all ready to go and there’s a number of them up there. The U23s there is run like a men’s team and it’s all about competing and winning.

Darren Currie, pictured with Iliman Ndiaye, helped Sheffield United's U23s win their league title last season: Andrew Yates / Sportimage

“Harrison was the skipper of the team last year and led by example. Not just on the Saturday but from Monday to Friday as well. He’s got a fantastic attitude and mentality and he will play for us for the remainder of the season like he’s a lifelong Southend fan.

“For me you can’t have enough people like that and he will wear the shirt with pride. He will be desperate to do well and we want as many of them as we can get.”