Sheffield United: Morgan Gibbs-White's Nottingham Forest connections won't make him sentimental

Morgan Gibbs-White plans to show Nottingham Forest no mercy at the City Ground tonight, despite revealing how the club’s manager Steve Cooper and one of its former defenders helped shape his career.

Tuesday, 17th May 2022, 11:30 am

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The Sheffield United midfielder, on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers, was a member of the England squad crowned world under-17 champions under Cooper’s stewardship five years ago.

Speaking ahead of tonight’s play-off semi-final second leg, which will decide who progresses to this month’s promotion showpiece at Wembley, Gibbs-White also explained how being coached by Des Lyttle as a youngster convinced him to try and become a professional footballer.

Morgan Gibbs-White has vowed to do whatever he can to help Sheffield United reach the play-off final: Darren Staples / Sportimage

“Steve and I have always had a good relationship,” Gibbs-White told The Star. “He did unbelievable things for me in the World Cup with England and when he was at Swansea, he gave me my chance when I went on loan there.

“I’ll have a chat with him before the game, like we always do, and I’ll try and get inside his head.

“Joking aside, I don’t think I’d be able to do that to him or him to me because we know each other too well. He knows me just as well as I know him.”

Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom (left) encourages their players as Nottingham Forest manager Steve Cooper looks on: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.

Gibbs-White, aged 22, scored United’s goal when they drew 1-1 with Forest in the east Midlands during the regular season. With Saturday’s first leg at Bramall Lane finishing 2-1 in the visitors’ favour, Paul Heckingbottom’s side will be relying on Gibbs-White to help them turn the tie around.

Lyttle, who made nearly 200 league appearances for Forest during the Nineties, is expected to watch his protege perform with interest after working with Gibbs-White at Thomas Telford School in Shropshire.

“Des was smy school PE teacher and another guy that I learned a huge amount from,” Gibbs-White said. “He really helped me out and, listening to him, it made me want to have that sort of life in the game.”

A fan takes a selfie with Morgan Gibbs-White of Sheffield United: Darren Staples / Sportimage

“If you ask Des, I think he’ll tell you that I wasn’t a bad lad,” Gibbs-White added. “I always did my work but I suppose I enjoyed being the clown at times too. Every lad has to be a lad at times though, don’t they.”