Sander Berge's brilliant description of this Sheffield United team
Sander Berge says he has never encountered a club with a team spirit as strong as Sheffield United, describing Chris Wilder’s squad as a “family” rather than a football team.
Speaking from Scotland, where United’s preparations for the new Premier League season have begun in earnest, the Norway international insisted the atmosphere behind the scenes will help him reproduce the form which saw Napoli express an interest in acquiring his services before completing a £22m move to Bramall Lane; becoming United’s most expensive ever player in the process.
“I don’t know if it is just the way the Blades are or whatever, if it is just the Blades family, but I have never felt people bond as well as we do here,” Berge said. “Everybody gets along and we all look our for one another. Everybody is ready to fight for one another, which is really great to be a part of.”
“It feels the same as the national team, if I’m being honest,” Berge continued. “There, obviously everyone is all Norwegian. But here, even though some of us are foreigners, everyone helps you out when you come in. That is great, and because everyone is so humble and friendly it really helps you settle in.”
By his own admission Berge, aged 22, made a slow start to his career in England as he adjusted to the demands of the English game. Signed from Genk in January, where he gained Champions League experience, the midfielder improved during the closing stages of a campaign disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic. With John Lundstram expected to be sold unless he agrees to accept a contract extension, Berge is likely to become an even more important figure at the club over the coming months, having previously vied with the Liverpudlian for a place in United’s starting eleven.
It is for that reason that Wilder will have been encouraged by his performance during Tuesday’s friendly against Dundee United, making a series of powerful runs into the opposition box before bad weather forced the match to be abandoned at half-time.
With United set to play another warm-up fixture in Edinburgh tomorrow before returning to England, Berge explained how the culture Wilder has created allows him to focus on improving his own contribution to a side which finished ninth in the division last term, only a season after being promoted from the Championship.
“It’s a bigger step coming here from Belgium than it was from Norway to Belgium,” Berge acknowledged. “The team I had in Genk, we had youngsters from all over the world and some of them didn’t speak very good English, so I became a leader.
“Here, I feel more like a younger brother because of all the leaders we have. I connect with the lads through football, and that’s good."
"We're all in good shape," Berge added. "Things are going well and I just keep my head down, and concentrate on trying to become better."