Sheffield United: Can Blades now hold on to their young stars after promotion to Premier League?
Saturday’s 1-1 draw at AFC Bournemouth was a promising start to life in the Premier League for Sheffield United, but also a reminder of what could have been.
Former Blades goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale made his top-flight debut in the home goal, after joining the Cherries on deadline day when Chris Wilder’s men were still in League One.
In the third tier, United routinely had to cash in on prized assets in an attempt to balance the books, with the likes of Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Harry Maguire and Ramsdale all leaving South Yorkshire.
David Brooks then departed, again to Bournemouth, in a £11.5m move the summer before United won promotion to the Premier League, although he missed the reunion with his former side at the weekend with injury.
Wilder told the story on Saturday of how he sold Ramsdale an hour before he was due to get married on deadline day.
“He tried to balls that up!” Wilder, who handed Ramsdale his senior debut in an FA Cup tie in 2016, joked.
"I got married in London and myself and the chief exec sold him to Bournemouth and then when that got done within an hour I was married.
"That's why I will always remember Aaron Ramsdale, not just because he's a good kid and I'm sure he's got a fabulous future ahead of him.
Sign up to our Sheffield United newsletter
The i newsletter cut through the noise
“Maybe one of the little bits of regret is that the club have moved players on, and we had to. We had to move Dom on, we had to move Rammers on, even Brooksy.
"We've produced players and we want to keep hold of those players. But there has been a period where we've had to move them on to invest to get out of the division, which we've done.
"I wish Rammers all the best, he's such a good kid, he's a great prospect but, like I said, I'm never ever going to forget about him."
Ramsdale made good saves to deny David McGoldrick and Callum Robinson on Saturday, but could do nothing about Billy Sharp’s late equaliser.
Current United ‘keeper Dean Henderson, on loan from Manchester United, also made his Premier League debut, making a fine stop from Philip Billing’s well-struck shot.
“So proud to have played a small part in the journey of these two young goalkeepers,” United ‘keeper coach, Darren Ward, posted on Instagram, with images of Ramsdale and Henderson.
Ramsdale replied: “Thanks Wardy pal! Not a small part. It was huge.”
Henderson has also praised Ward and his methods on multiple occasions.