Sheffield United: Manager challenges one of football’s greatest myths after urging trio to hit the ground running at Bramall Lane

Conor Washington made his debut against Aston Villa
Conor Washington made his debut against Aston Villa

Conor Washintgon, Marvin Johnson and Martin Cranie are expected to make an immediate impact at Bramall Lane, Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder has confirmed.

Questioning the notion footballers invariably require time to find their feet after changing clubs, Wilder instead believes the trio's combination of ability and experience should accelerate the settling-in process.

Highlighting the example set by Oliver Norwood, who has quickly emerged as one of United's most influential players after arriving from Brighton and Hove Albion, Wilder said: "I'm not a big believer in the idea that it takes an unbelievable amount of time to settle and gel. Good players pick things up pretty quickly and Ollie is one of those.
"We've got good players who want to run around and produce good performances."

Although Washington is on international duty with Northern Ireland - he could play alongside Norwood against Bosnia and Herzegovina this weekend - Cranie and Johnson have remained at the Steelphalt Academy to prepare for United's visit to Bristol City on September 15. 

Johnson, aged 27, boasts experience of top-flight football following year long spell with Motherwell earlier in his career while Washington and Cranie boast a combined total of 355 Championship appearances between them. Like Norwood, who has won promotion to the Premier League in each of the last two seasons having joined Fulham on loan last term, Cranie also boasts a successful second-tier campaign on his CV after helping Huddersfield Town plot a course through the play-offs 16 months ago. 
That focus on knowledge and know-how was a feature of United's recruitment during the most recent transfer window, after Wilder identified naiveté as a factor behind their failure to secure a top six finish, despite climbing to the top of the table in November, earlier this year. Analysing United's victories over Bolton Wanderers and Aston Villa, he insisted the benefits of that approach are already evident.

"We've started well and scored goals at really good times, important times," he said. "People forget that we only came up (from League One) in 2017 because the lads have done so well.
"The boys who were a part of that are learning all the time and getting better. The same goes for some of the other boys we've brought in as well.
"We want people who are ready to fight, which we've got, and good players with intelligence which I think we've got as well."

Martin Cranie (left) and Marvin Johnson also joined Sheffield United last week

Martin Cranie (left) and Marvin Johnson also joined Sheffield United last week

Washington, the former Queens Park Rangers centre-forward, made his debut as a second-half substitute against Villa but Johnson and Cranie, who also joined on deadline day, were forced to watch from the stands because their moves were not processed in time. With Leon Clarke receiving treatment for a hamstring complaint, Washington had been expected to make his first start at Ashton Gate although the form of Billy Sharp and David McGoldrick, who excelled during the 4-1 win, have forced a review of those plans.

"Billy did what Billy does," Wilder said. "He scores goals. David, I thought, was exceptional as well. He dragged them all over, made space for others and showed his quality."