Sheffield United: Midfielder says The Blades can never realise their true potential until this happens
Oliver Norwood has admitted to feeling let down by Sheffield United’s failure to overhaul their first team training complex despite spending two years in the Premier League, revealing a delegation of senior players have told the club’s hierarchy that facilities there are preventing the club from realising its true potential.
Speaking from United’s temporary base in Spain, where new manager Slavisa Jokanovic is preparing his squad for the forthcoming campaign, Norwood’s comments echo those of the Serb’s predecessor Chris Wilder who complained about a lack of infrastructure behind the scenes before departing in March.
Stressing that United need to “quickly move on” from last term’s relegation, Norwood said: “There’s still things behind the scenes that need sorting. Facility wise, it needs sorting and we need better ones, that’s obvious.
“Hopefully sooner rather than later it will be.”
Having helped United win promotion from the Championship in 2019 - only 24 months after they romped to the League One title - Norwood added: “As players, the journey we’ve taken the club on from League One to the Premier League and to still not have a proper training faculty - it is a bit disappointing. It’s not what we want. It’s what we need.”
Although the Steelphalt Academy was state of the art when it first opened its doors, it now lags behind what is on offer at most other second tier, let alone top-flight sides. United shelved a major refurbishment project at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, with senior figures also known to have begun the process of identifying land for a brand new base. Nigel Clough who led United into two cup semi-finals during his own spell in charge, was a vocal advocate of finding alternative premises - arguing they had outgrown the site at Shirecliffe.
Norwood, who worked under Jokanovic at Fulham, said: “Maybe I’m speaking out of turn but we deserve rewarding for where we’ve put the club and a better training facility would help the club for years to come. The club are aware of that and hopefully they’ll sort it sooner rather than later, because it does need doing.”