Plans in place for Sheffield United starlet to make push for Blades defensive role

Sheffield United have no intention of selling Rhys Norrington-Davies, as coaching staff view the youngster’s loan spell at Luton Town as part of a development plan designed to see him challenge for a place in Chris Wilder’s starting eleven next season.

Monday, 23rd November 2020, 12:00 pm
Rhys Norrington-Davies of Wales (r) is seen by Sheffield United as a long-term successor to Jack O'Connell. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

After winning his first senior cap for Wales last month, Norrington-Davies has attracted interest from clubs including Stoke City and West Bromwich Albion - whose Wilder’s side face in a crucial Premier League encounter on Saturday night.

Although the 21-year-old’s rapid progress has led to speculation he could be tempted to leave Bramall Lane - despite seeing injuries gut their defence, United will not recall him from Kenilworth Road in January - Wilder has sought to both reassure the centre-half about his future in South Yorkshire and warn rivals clubs not to waste their time by submitting bids when the transfer window reopens over the festive period.

“We keep an eye on Rhys all the time,” Wilder said. “Rhys is coming along nicely. He just needs to keep his head down and keep on going because, and I’m not saying anything unexpected, if he wants to play top-flight football then he’s got to be one of the best players at the club he’s at right now.

Sign up to our Sheffield United newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“We’ve had to sell young players in the past, because of where we were at the time. But I’ve gone on record to make it clear I didn’t want to get rid of any of them really. It was just the situation we were in at the time.”

As The Star revealed last summer, United view Norrington-Davies as a potential successor to Jack O’Connell - which goes some way towards explaining why Wilder is preparing to use the loan market, rather than make a permanent signing, to draft in cover for the Liverpudlian as he recovers from knee surgery.

Languishing in League One when Wilder was appointed in May 2016, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Che Adams and Aaron Ramsdale, who has since returned from AFC Bournemouth, were among the players United sold to help finance the rebuilding process which saw them win the first of two promotions under the former Northampton Town chief.