Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder goes on the attack

Chris Wilder, the Sheffield United manager, has no sympathy for players who warn plans to complete the Premier League season by the end of July are a threat to their fitness.

Friday, 15th May 2020, 3:47 pm

Instead, highlighting the number of matches his squad contested during their march into the top-flight last term, the 52-year-old believes it should be “perfectly possible” for “fit young men” to handle the revised fixture schedule.

‘Project Restart’ - which aims to lift the fixture suspension imposed because of the coronavirus pandemic next month - includes a proposal which would see the remaining 92 top-flight games squeezed into a 49 day window beginning on June 12.

Although that date could yet be rolled back - and despite conceding it would limit recovery and preparation time - Wilder is adamant it remains a realistic target; brushing aside concerns voiced by some within the game that it would put their bodies under too much stress.

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“For me, you want to be out there on the pitch,” he said. “We’re talking about fit young men here, athletes as everyone calls them and as they are now these days, so I don’t understand why it’s impossible. Seriously, I don’t.

“Admittedly, it’s not ideal. But it’s not as if we are talking about it always being like this. It would be for a very short period of time so I think it should be perfectly possible.”

At worst - if the Football Association pressed ahead with the FA Cup and United, who were preparing to face Arsenal in the quarter-finals when the lockdown was announced, progressed through the next two rounds - Wilder’s side will take part in 13 matches over a seven week period.

Seventh in the table after being promoted last term, United played on average a game every 5.7 days in the second tier.

Sheffield United's manager Chris Wilder has no time for players who complain about their workload: LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP via Getty Images

“These lads stay in shape, pretty much, all the time now,” Wilder said. “Obviously it will take a little while to get totally up to speed after a break but it would be like doing a mini pre-season.

“We’re talking about lads at their peak of their powers, who have access to all this science.”

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