Sheffield United: 'I can't understand why Chris Wilder wasn't in the Premier League before he led Blades to promised land'

Chris Wilder is finally a Premier League manager after leading his Sheffield United side into the top-flight – but one of his former players can't understand why the Blades boss wasn’t there a lot sooner.

By Graham Smyth
Tuesday, 04 June, 2019, 11:34
Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder: Danny Lawson/PA Wire.

Peter Leven played under Wilder for two seasons at Oxford United, near the tail end of his career.

The Scot, now assistant manager at Belarusian Premier League side FC Dynamo Brest, has questioned why the owners of English top flight clubs don't give more consideration to up and coming British coaches.

He cites Wilder as an example of one who has been overlooked.

"Look at the Premier League, all the foreign managers. Why are they getting jobs before the British coaches, is it something they're learning abroad?

"Are owners looking for something culture wise?

"There's good British coaches. Look at my ex-manager Chris Wilder at Sheffield United.

"He's done fantastic.

"From Halifax to Oxford, Northampton to Sheffield United, now the Premier League.

"Why was he not getting looked at for the Premier League earlier? Why are we still going for foreign managers?"

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Finding out the answer to that question is one of the reasons Leven took it upon himself to leave the British game in April 2018.

That, and the need to stand out from all the ex players and managers going for each and every British coaching job, took him to Belarus.

His Brest side have now set out to knock perennial champions BATE off their perch.

"I looked about for what was available job-wise in the UK and there was nothing really that I fancied, plus speaking to a few people, every job that comes up there must be 50 to 100 applicants going for it,” he said.

"I needed to do something different, to stand out from the ex players and ex managers going for these jobs. Why would they choose me instead of these guys with more experience than me?

"I've always been ambitious and quite courageous so I thought I need to go out and learn a different language, a different culture, do something completely different that stands out on my CV when I do come back.

"I wanted to go abroad and see what they're doing different.

"I think we need to take a risk, as players and coaches, to go and experience life abroad.

"Let's be honest, I never made enough money in the game to sit about and wait for this job or that job, I can't wait, I have to work and learn."