Sheffield United: Chris Wilder is always forwards thinkng when it comes to selection
Every week, when he sits down the discuss strategy with his assistant Alan Knill and other members of Sheffield United’s coaching staff, Chris Wilder focusses on who will play up top.
The defence pretty much picks itself.
So too, although there is arguably more room for manouvre, does a midfield where John Lundstram and Oliver Norwood are both ever-presents in the Premier League this term.
But in attack, a department which experienced a major overhaul during the close season following United’s promotion from the Championship, Wilder has a variety of different weapons at his disposal.
“They all bring something to the group,” Wilder said. “When we went up last season, most of the work we did was on the attack and that was deliberate, we knew that’s where we needed to do a lot of work. Not because of the lads we had, but because of what we were stepping into.
“All of the lads, and the forwards are no different, want to play every single week. But they also appreciate it’s a team game and what’s best for that – the team – has to come first.”
On Saturday, when Burnley visit Bramall Lane, Wilder is again expected to make changes to the frontline which began last weekend’s draw with West Ham.
David McGoldrick is likely to retain his place. Callum Robinson could start on the bench if Wilder suspects Lys Mousset, Oli McBurnie or Billy Sharp are better equipped to cause Sean Dyche’s men problems.
Alternatively, despite the clamour for Mousset to start following his recent goals against Arsenal and Manuel Pellegrini’s side, Robinson could again partner McGoldrick if his athleticism is deemed more of a threat to Burnley’s rearguard.
McGoldrick, despite not being United’s most clinical finisher, is generally regarded as one of the most creative members of United’s squad.
“They’ve all got different qualities,” Wilder said. “Oli hasn’t done a lot of things wrong, he’s just struggling for games at the moment because of the form of others in the group. McGoldrick makes us better in terms of creating chances. Billy gives us something nobody else does and so does Callum.”
“Obviously, when you’re scoring goals, people take notice,” Wilder continued. “I should imagine there are a few more shirts with Lys’ name on them banging about Sheffield this week.”
Mousset’s United career exploded into life last week when, having netted their match winner against Arsenal, he ensured they took a point from their trip to the London Stadium five days later.
The impact Mousset made against West Ham would usually guarantee him a prominent role, but Wilder said his selection policy will be based upon insight and intelligence rather than emotion or a sense of entitlement.
“As always,” he insisted, “We’ll do what’s best for the group as a whole.”