Sheffield United: Chris Wilder reveals his delight at Oliver Norwood's arrival and explains why he made sacrifices to sign the midfielder

Chris Wilder is delighted to sign Oliver Norwood
Chris Wilder is delighted to sign Oliver Norwood
0
Have your say

It was earlier today, within minutes of training starting, when Chris Wilder realised his hunch was correct.

The Sheffield United manager always knew Oliver Norwood was a talent. But studying him at close quarters, analysing the midfielder's flicks, tricks and feints, confirmed he will bring a different gear to Bramall Lane's engine room and, just as importantly, slip effortlessly into the group.

Oliver Norwood has arrived at Bramall Lane

Oliver Norwood has arrived at Bramall Lane

"We've got a good player on our hands," Wilder acknowledged. "And a good guy as well. If you watch him out there, it gives you a little bit of a glow because you can see how he handles himself."

Norwood, capped 53 times by Northern Ireland and a member of his country's Euro 2016 squad, is expected to make his debut for United against Hull City tomorrow when Nigel Adkins' side visit South Yorkshire in the Carabao Cup. Initially on loan from Brighton and Hove Albion, the transfer will be made permanent when the window reopens after the two clubs agreed a fee, thought to be in the region of £1.5m, before the deal was officially processed.

Norwood's presence at Bramall Lane underlines not only United's ability to attract high-calibre footballers but also the thinking behind their recruitment strategy. Lee Evans, whose departure for Wigan Athletic last week sparked a social media furore, was signed primarily to provide cover for the injured Paul Coutts. But with the Scot closing in on a return to action, his sale created room on the budget after Wilder, witnessing his team's early season displays, decided a fresh dynamic was required.

"We've got a tight group so we moved one out because there was an opportunity," he continued. "Ollie's enthusiasm to join us made it easier. There has to be an enthusiasm from the player to come to us.

Chris Wilder is expected to hand Oliver Norwood his debut in the Carabao Cup tomorrow night

Chris Wilder is expected to hand Oliver Norwood his debut in the Carabao Cup tomorrow night

" He saw what we were about last year and he wants to add to that. I want him to add to it as well. I still think there's a lot more to come from us and I think he will bring something different."

"I'm delighted, it's a great transfer and a great signing," Wilder added. "You have a budget to work to and sometimes you trade. I talked about the player who left and now I'm delighted to talk about Ollie. If he can sprinkle a bit of magic, having been involved in two sides who won a lot, then I'll be really happy."

Wilder was referring to Norwood's involvement in the Albion side which gained promotion from the Championship two seasons ago before helping Fulham reach the top-flight last term. The 27-year-old, who spent 10 months on loan at Craven Cottage, brings a wealth of knowledge and experience which Wilder insisted, should prove invaluable as United attempt to take the same step.

"We've spoken about a year's worth of experience for a lot of our guys. It still is, when people are critical, only a year. The expectation levels have risen and the expectation of the division has risen also.

"From Ollie's point of view, consistently in this division, he's done very well. For the likes of Brighton to sign him and then Fulham he's nobody's fool. He's got 50 odd caps for Northern Ireland and went to the Euro's a couple of years back as well."

Those credentials ensured Norwood's services were in great demand when, earlier this summer, it became apparent he would be leaving the south coast. City, managed by Wilder's predecessor Nigel Adkins, tried to broker a deal but refused to meet Albion's asking price. Norwood's admission he would have chosen United anyway gives their first round tie extra edge.

"We'd rather sign players that have been successful than ones who have been in losing teams," Wilder said. "We don't just sign them on past achievements. We signed Leon (Clarke) a couple of years ago who had been in a team that struggled and he's done great. But if they've been involved in teams that have done well, there's a reason isn't there. He (Norwood) wanted to come here, and that was a big thing for me. He wanted to progress with us."

Although the league is Wilder's priority, the meeting with City represents a chance to build momentum after Saturday's victory over Queens Park Rangers; United's first win of the new campaign.

"We want consistent performances and consistent results," Wilder said. "We've had a couple of defeats and that's stung, it's not tasted nice. A few people have had the hump and rightly so because we're used to winning matches.

"I want that consistent attitude of winning games and the feeling when people come into the dressing room patting themselves on the back."