Chris Wilder reveals Sheffield United's stance on players who don't want to return to action
Sheffield United will not force any player who expresses concerns about their health to declare themselves available for selection if Premier League football returns next month, manager Chris Wilder has confirmed.
After mothballing the season at the beginning of March because of the Covid-19 pandemic, top-flight clubs hope to complete this term’s remaining 92 fixtures over the summer when social distancing guidelines are relaxed by government.
However, with a vaccine for the respiratory disease - which has claimed more nearly 270,000 lives worldwide - yet to be discovered, some of the game’s most famous names have voiced fears about taking part in games.
Sergio Aguero, the Manchester City centre-forward, recently claimed “most” of his fellow professionals are scared about the prospect of resuming competition so early because they want to protect their families and loved ones.
Although Wilder disputes the Argentine’s assessment, he said: “I’d respect that (if a member of United’s squad revealed they didn’t want to play). As far as I’m concerned, speaking to the players and the captain, I don’t think that will happen.
“But if any player came to me and said ‘it’s not for me’, I’d respect that and we’d move on.”
With United seventh in the table before lockdown was announced, defender George Baldock has declared himself ready to enter quarantine in order to salvage a season which could see his side qualify for Europe only a year after being promoted.
“The majority of players have got their own minds,” Wilder said. “They’re intelligent, even though they're often painted as otherwise.”