Explained: How Paul Heckingbottom's 'new' football manager role will really work

Paul Heckingbottom has explained how his role at Sheffield United will work after being handed a wide-ranging brief which includes all aspects of the club’s football operations as well as first team affairs.

By James Shield
Friday, 26th November 2021, 3:15 pm

The former Barnsley, Leeds and Hibernian chief replaced Slavisa Jokanovic yesterday, after it was decided the Serb did not fit the strategic vision chairman Yusuf Giansiracusa confirmed had changed following his appointment in May.

Whereas Jokanovic, who was described as a “coach” by Giansiracusa during a media conference this week, was responsible solely for the senior squad, Heckingbottom’s responsibilities include other aspects of United's sporting business with particular emphasis being placed on youth.

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Paul Heckingbottom is Sheffield United's new permanent manager: Darren Staples / Sportimage

Despite his wide-ranging portfolio, Heckingbottom insisted the presence of Stuart McCall and Jack Lester - assistant manager and head of player development respectively - means he will not become distracted from the number one priority - restoring the Premier League status United surrendered last season.

"I've maybe been guilty in my past roles of doing too much and not delegating enough,” Heckingbottom, previously United’s under-23’s coach, said. "I'm excited about working with the staff I've got, the fact that Jack's agreed to come up from the academy and work with me, the fact Stuart's agreed to come back to the club as assistant manager, they're two really good appointments.”

McCall left Blackpool to return to South Yorkshire, having played for United towards the end of his career.

Heckingbottom worked under McCall at Bradford City and added: “He's vastly experienced. I played for him in my second spell at Bradford so I know exactly what he's like, his relationship with the players.

"It's something I'm really excited about and there's probably a lot of people here really excited to see Stuart come back as well.

"It'll be good for me, it'll be good for the players and good for the players.”

Acknowledging he wants to increase his backroom staff, Heckingbottom said: “There's certain things they do much better than me. I want the third coach who comes in to be better than me at some things as well. That's the only way we're going to be successful, with that sort of approach.”