Sheffield United: How The Blades plan to keep their Premier League rivals guessing

Sheffield United could tweak aspects of their system as the Premier League season unfolds, a leading member of Chris Wilder's squad has said, as they attempt to keep top-flight opponents guessing.

Thursday, 5th September 2019, 4:31 pm
Updated Thursday, 5th September 2019, 11:15 pm
Jack O'Connell: James Wilson/Sportimage

Jack O'Connell raised the matter following a question about Chris Wilder's take on the 3-5-2 formation which has fascinated rival managers and players alike since first being unveiled three years ago.

United entered the international break ranked 10th in the table, after taking five points from their opening four matches of the new campaign.

Although Wilder has made a series of subtle adjustments to his team's approach, the basic tenets remain the same with O'Connell, who helped create John Lundstram's winning goal against Crystal Palace last month, still encouraged to maraud forward when the opportunity allows.

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Chris Wilder: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

But he insisted United have the potential to implement more if the situation demands, saying: "The games have given us belief. But the more teams watch it, they could find ways to exploit it."

Like United, O'Connell has made an encouraging start to the season. Indeed, with Gareth Southgate attending the club's last two home matches, there have been suggestions he could be under consideration for an England call-up later this term.

Wilder's decision to switch to a back three was in part influenced by O'Connell's athleticism and ability to operate effectively in advanced areas. On the periphery of Brentford's squad before moving to Bramall Lane in 2016, the 25-year-old has reaped the benefits of United's strategy, blossoming into one of the country's most promising young defenders and winning two promotions.

"As long as the system works and gets three points, that is all that matters," he added. "It is nice to get praise. But the three points are what matter. As long as we keep working hard and getting better, that is all that matters."

Jack O'Connell says Sheffield United will never become predictable: James Wilson/Sportimage