Sheffield United: Why Chris Wilder is delighted for Marvin Johnson

Chris Wilder, the Sheffield United manager, has revealed why he did not give Billy Sharp and David McGoldrick advance warning of his team selection for the game against Reading, which saw them both named on the bench.

Sunday, 17th February 2019, 11:19 am
Updated Sunday, 17th February 2019, 11:22 am
Marvin Johnson has Chris Wilder's backing

Although Wilder admitted the decision to omit his two leading goalscorers from the starting eleven could raise eyebrows, among fellow squad members and supporters alike, it was vindicated when United powered to a 4-0 win.

Asked if he had explained his plans to Sharp and McGoldrick beforehand, the 51-year-old said: "No, I didn't speak to them. I just named the team. You just have to accept it.

"There's no special cases here. There's no fannying around, talking people through it. Okay, on occasion you might do that. But if you're here, you just have to buy into it because the group always comes first."

Goals from Kieron Freeman and John Fleck, either side of Gary Madine's brace, lifted United to second in the Championship and ultimately vindicated Wilder's rotation policy.

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Freeman and Madine were among four changes United made for the meeting with José Manuel Gomes' side, with debutant Scott Hogan and Marvin Johnson also impressing.

"Marvin Johnson has supported Enda Stevens all season up and down the country," Wilder said. "I was delighted for Marvin, because he took a bit of stick a while back."

"You lot would have been after me if it hadn't gone right," he continued. "This is what you've got to do, you've got to pick the right team. We need to play with energy. Because of the way we play, we needed to be on the front foot. Gaz, Mark Duffy and Scott gave us that. Because of the way they play as well.

"It was a little bit of a change in the way we play, but I always try and pick the right team for the game. The Championship is ruthless and relentless."