Key change of role hinted for Sheffield United star as Blades 'first-choice' prediction is made

After helping Wales seal their place at the World Cup this winter via the play-offs, Rhys Norrington-Davies is facing a big first few months of the new season with Sheffield United as he looks to book his place in Qatar.

Saturday, 11th June 2022, 12:00 pm

The young Blades left-back did his World Cup hopes no harm with an impressive display, and first international goal, in Wales’ Nations League defeat to the Netherlands earlier this week.

Norrington-Davies caught the eye at left wing-back - with the regular in that position, Spurs’ Ben Davies, playing at centre-half – and will know he has to play regularly for Paul Heckingbottom’s side next season if he has any chance of establishing himself as the first-choice for former United defender Rob Page.

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Much will depend on the futures of Max Lowe and Enda Stevens, the other two left-backs currently on United’s books, while a potential avenue to the first-team may yet emerge at left centre-half – a position Chris Wilder and Alan Knill had earmarked Norrington-Davies for in the long term before they left the Blades in 2020.

It was a scenario referred to by the defender’s dad, Patrick, in an interview with Cambrian News after Wales booked their place at a first World Cup since 1958.

“Sheffield is a difficult one,” he said.

Gareth Bale, Rhys Norrington-Davies and Harry Wilson of Wales applaud their fans (Michael Steele/Getty Images)

“Chris Wilder and Paul Heckingbottom always go for experience but he had a good number of starts and also cemented his position as a senior pro there so he has broken through and done the hard work.

“Like Wales l think they both know he is outstanding in defence and attacking on the front foot; he just needs to improve his final third of play which he knows.

“I suspect he might feature more in the back line left of three but still has the speed and agility to be the left wingback.

“Depending on changes over the summer l think he will also feature more next season and possibly become the number one.”

Wales beat Ukraine in a play-off final last weekend to seal their World Cup place.

“When Rhys came up to the players’ lounge after the game you could tell he was over the moon,” Patrick added.

“His face was beaming and he was clearly elated with the result and the thought of qualifying for Qatar.”