Wilder won the award last season, having led Sheffield United to promotion from the Championship only three years after inheriting a squad which had just finished mid-table in League One.
Although Liverpool were 25 points clear at the top of the Premier League rankings before English football went into lockdown because of the coronavirus crisis, Danny Higginbotham believes the fact United are now challenging for a place in Europe means Wilder deserves to retain the trophy.
“I think Chris Wilder should be Premier League manager of the year,” Higginbotham said. “Liverpool would have won the Premier League last season if Manchester City weren’t so great.”
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“What I do, I always look at comparisons to the previous season,” he added. “If you look at comparisons to the previous season, you see just how well a manager has done.”
Despite being viewed as certainties for relegation by some, United had climbed to seventh in the table - only five points off the Champions League pace - when the PL and the English Football League announced all matches would be postponed until the nationwide health situation improved.
Speaking after United’s visit to Anfield earlier this year, Klopp also suggested that Wilder would get his vote, telling The Star: “I said it before, I couldn’t respect Chris and his players more. I do not mean this disrespectfully when I say I didn’t know much about Chris before the end of last season, when they were promoted.
“Obviously I had heard about their special set-up and their tactics, the things like that. But I certainly know about them now.“I want to say, what they have done and what they are doing is just exceptional, it really is.”