Sheffield United: Paul Heckingbottom to be tasked with blooding kids as chief executive addresses January spending plans

Paul Heckingbottom will be tasked with blooding more of Sheffield United’s youth players after taking charge of the Blades on a permanent basis.

Thursday, 25th November 2021, 4:59 pm

The former Barnsley and Leeds United manager was appointed as Slavisa Jokanović’s successor this afternoon, after the Serb’s 19-league game tenure of the Blades was brought to an end.

Heckingbottom is promoted from United’s U23s side, where he has overseen a promising group of youngsters including the likes of Daniel Jebbison, Iliman Ndiaye and Zak Brunt.

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He won three of his 10 games as caretaker manager of the Blades last season, after the mid-campaign departure of Chris Wilder.

And at his unveiling press conference this afternoon, chief executive Stephen Bettis was asked if Heckingbottom would have money to spend in January.

“I think that’s the wrong way of looking at it,” he said.

“Look at what Paul did last season, embracing the youth in our club with the likes of Jebbison and Ndiaye and the quality and improvement they brought to the team.

Paul Heckingbottom is unveiled as the new Sheffield United manager at Bramall Lane: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

“That’s not about money, it’s about making the right decisions. We believe in our academy and in the development in the youth and that’s the right way to go forward.

“We spent a huge amount of money on players in recent years. I don’t think those years are over. Rhian Brewster is an example of a big-money signing, he’s young.

“We believe the future is signing young players. Some will be cheaper than the more proven ones, but it’s about buying youth in the academy level and first-team to move the club forward.”