Nigel Clough, the Sheffield United manager, has outlined why nurturing home-grown talent is vital to ensure the future prosperity of Bramall Lane, writes James Shield.
Louis Reed and Terry Kennedy are the latest graduates of the Redtooth Academy to command regular places in the League One club’s squad following Clough’s appointment 16 months ago while teenager Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who was named on the bench for last season’s FA Cup tie against Aston Villa, has again impressed coaching staff after completing a spell at Stalybridge Celtic on loan.
With former Ilkeston duo Che Adams and Kieran Wallace also deployed by Clough in recent weeks, he said: “It’s their first proper professional club and that increases their attachment. Hopefully it’s growing all the time and, when you come through the ranks, there’s always a bond there.
“There’s nothing worse than a young player feeling they are nowhere near.
“Reedy is the prime example. He was expecting under-21 football but has blossomed as well as anybody.
“We don’t put them in for good PR. They all deserve to be in there.”
United’s youth system, also responsible for producing players such as Kyle Walker, Kyle Naughton, Stephen Quinn and Phil Jagielka, was recently recognised by the Premier League for it’s work at academy level.
“If you do well, then you’ll stay in,” Clough said. “Dominic Lewin will be doing that with the under-21’s after going out on loan and doing well.
“We do try and bring them through. Everyone gets an opportunity. Even if it’s a game, that’s a chance.”