Sheffield United’s Chris Basham paid tribute to Regan Slater after the young midfielder made his league debut for the club at Preston North End.
Although the match ended in defeat for the visitors, the teenager’s contribution as a second-half substitute ensured there was something positive for Basham and his manager Chris Wilder to discuss following last weekend’s result.
Slater, a graduate of the Steelphalt Academy, impressed after being summoned from the bench as United searched for a way back into a contest settled by Jordan Hugill’s 58th minute strike and Basham, who has monitored his progress in recent months, admitted he was not surprised by what he witnessed.
“I’ve spoken with Regan quite a lot,” Basham said. “He’s been training with us (the first team) for quite a while now and did ever so well when he played in the Checkatrade Trophy at Grimsby last season.
“You can see what a good player he is and so I told him to keep working hard and that his chance would come. That’s exactly what he did and it happened. I thought he did really well out there.”
Basham, one of the most senior members of United’s squad, went as far to suggest that Slater had shown his more experienced colleagues how to put their season back on track when they visit Aston Villa this weekend. Wilder’s team will enter that match without a win in their last five outings.
“Regan had all the qualities out there,” Basham continued. “He had that aggression and he tried to make things happen. He looked to force things and give Preston something to think about. I thought that was great to see and, clearly, he’s got a very bright future in the game providing he keeps working hard, looking to improve and doing the right things.”
Wilder, who invited Slater to travel with United to their recent meeting with Millwall, agreed.
“Regan deserved his chance and he looked to take that chance,” he said. “He went out there with the right attitude and did what we asked of him. We want to bring players through here.”