Paul Heckingbottom drops hint over new Sheffield United addition as he looks to finalise coaching team

Paul Heckingbottom appears to have dropped a hint that Sheffield United’s new coach will be defensively-focused, after admitting he believes the future of football is specialist coaches for each area of the field.

Thursday, 16th December 2021, 6:00 am

Heckingbottom’s coaching staff includes two former Blades players in Stuart McCall and Jack Lester, a former midfielder and striker respectively of great reputation.

Since Heckingbottom assumed control of the Blades following the sacking of Slavisa Jokanović last month, McCall has worked closely with United’s midfielders – admitting recently he was particularly keen to link up with a fellow Rangers old boy in John Fleck – while Lester has focused on the strikers, with four of the five goals United have scored under Heckingbottom’s charge coming from forwards.

“Jack reminds me of that all the time!” Heckingbottom joked. “Every time I see him!

Sign up to our Sheffield United newsletter

“It’s not black and white with strikers but we want that across all the group. Teams have had goalkeeping coaches for a long time but Jack has given the strikers some attention, Macca has used his experienced to work with the midfielders and the other coach, I very much see providing the same expertise and assistance and guidance to the defenders as well.

“That’s the way I think the game’s going to go. I really do.

“It’s not just about the detail of the game. You’re delivering a tactical element that you hope is going to help you win the next game, and a long-term programme that you think will help develop individuals and help them get better as players.”

Stuart McCall and Jack Lester are part of Paul Heckingbottom's Sheffield United coaching team - with a new member to be announced soon: Simon Bellis / Sportimage

Read More

Read More
How Paul Heckingbottom wants his Sheffield United side to evolve as he vows to t...

Heckingbottom signalled his intention to bring in another coach to help him with the Blades’ first-team after accepting the Bramall Lane board’s invitation to replace Jokanović.

Lester moved from his role in charge of United’s academy to become head of player development, while McCall left his coaching job at United’s Championship rivals Blackpool to return to Bramall Lane – where he has operated as a player and assistant manager previously.

“Not everyone wants to talk to their manager,” Heckingbottom added. “In this job, you might have to upset people sometimes.

“As long as they have someone to turn to in the building, to support them and keep pushing them, I think that’s really important.”