Sheffield United: Chris Wilder’s big recruitment message as Blades prepare for life in the Premier League

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder insists he won’t “take a wrecking ball” to the club’s squad this summer as they prepare to return to the Premier League after 12 years.

Monday, 6th May 2019, 10:31 am
Updated Monday, 6th May 2019, 6:06 pm
Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder (right), Billy Sharp (centre) and goalkeeper Dean Henderson (left) celebrate promotion to the Premier League: Dave Howarth/PA Wire.

Wilder’s Blades have been one of the success stories of the season so far, sealing a top-two finish on what their manager says is a bottom third budget in only their second campaign back in the Championship after six years in League One.

Central to that journey has been a team spirit carefully constructed by Wilder and his staff’s recruitment policy, with a number of players still with the club who helped win 100 points in League One two years ago.

And while the manager concedes that he may have to look at bringing in players who have Premier League experience on their CVs, he appeared to suggest that United would not repeat the mistakes of relegated Fulham in tearing apart the squad that earned them top-flight status.

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Speaking after Sunday’s 2-2 draw at Stoke, Wilder said: “We have to bring a few in - especially if we play like we did first half! Dear me. But we will not take a wrecking ball to it.

“Recruitment is something we work hard at. We are not lazy with that. The journeys of lads like Mark Duffy, Enda Stevens… I have said it all week, there are some great stories in this group.

“Duffy played for Prescot Cables but will be playing at Anfield as a Liverpool supporter. Jack O’Connell came out of Brentford, Oliver Norwood with three promotions. The skipper [Billy Sharp] and David McGoldrick - all great stories.

“They deserve the right to step out at these grounds. But, as always, you can’t be sentimental about it. We have to improve as a team and play smarter. We have to all up our game, from staff to players.

“But we will not take a wrecking ball to it. You have seen a couple of examples this year when things get smashed apart and then it is constant trouble.

“Those players, as you saw in the second half, have a lot of spirit about them. But, hopefully, we can add quality to that group.”

One summer target, goalkeeper Dean Henderson, won the Championship’s golden glove award on Sunday after keeping 21 clean sheets this season.

"It's not possible without my teammates, but I've worked hard every day on the training pitch, it's my first season in the Championship so I'm delighted,” he said.

"I try to do my best every Saturday, Tuesday and that's what you've got to do to become the best goalkeeper.

"It's the best feeling in the world to get promoted, coming out here in front of our supporters. Getting the job done last week makes it a little bit easier.

"We wanted to get a result and win the title but unfortunately it wasn't to be, but we had some good teams chasing us down so to come out with promotion is outstanding."