Sheffield United: International stars prepare for key trip

Sheffield United will take a full complement of players to Portugal next week, as their preparations for the new season begin in earnest.

Saturday, 2nd July 2022, 11:00 am

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Although Paul Heckingbottom has yet to welcome any new faces to Bramall Lane, all of the club’s international players are set to report for duty at the warm-weather training camp being established on the outskirts of Lisbon.

The trip is scheduled to conclude with a friendly against Casa Pia, who were promoted to the top-flight of the Portuguese league last term, on Friday.

The return of names including John Egan, Enda Stevens and Rhys Norrington-Davies should come as a huge relief to Heckingbottom, who recently acknowledged that the first fortnight of United’s work at the Randox Health Academy ahead of the 2022/23 Championship campaign had been hampered by Nations League call-ups. Defender George Baldock also made his debut for Greece during the tournament and was granted extra time off.

“It mainly focused on fitness because, with the numbers being down, there’s only so much you can do as you’d expect,” Heckingbottom explained. “We brought some of the under-23’s over the make them up. When everyone comes back, then we can really start looking at the football side of things.”

Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom is taking his squad to Portugal: Andrew Yates / Sportimage

United are scheduled to embark upon their latest attempt to win promotion at Watford on August 1st, with the match being selected for live television coverage.

Before then, they will face Lincoln City, Scunthorpe United, Mansfield Town, Burton Albion and Heckingbottom’s former club Barnsley. Two of those fixtures, against Lincoln and Mansfield, will take place behind closed doors.

Rhys Norrington-Davies and Sander Berge (centre) flanked by Sheffield United team mates Wes Foderingham and Daniel Jebbison: Simon Bellis / Sportimage