Sheffield United star praises Paul Heckingbottom's impact at Bramall Lane

David McGoldrick has insisted Sheffield United’s players are “responding” to caretaker manager Paul Heckingbottom’s methods, after admitting they are concerned about what the future will hold when Bramall Lane’s hierarchy prepares to make a permanent appointment.

Thursday, 20th May 2021, 4:45 pm

Heckingbottom appeared to suggest he will return to his role with Bramall Lane’s under-23 squad following Sunday’s match against Burnley - United’s final Premier League fixture before they return to the Championship.

Speaking largely in the past tense and acknowledging he had “enjoyed” his spell at the helm, Heckingbottom sounded as if he was preparing to relinquish control as he reflected upon United’s performance during Wednesday’s 1-0 defeat at Newcastle.

Slavisa Jokanovic, previously of Watford and Fulham, is known to have been interviewed about the possibility of replacing Chris Wilder who parted company with United two months ago, while Philippe Clement, the Club Brugge head coach, has also attracted admiring glances from the club’s hierarchy.

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Newcastle, England, 19th May 2021. David McGoldrick of Sheffield Utd disappointed during the Premier League match at St. James's Park, Newcastle. Picture credit should read: Darren Staples / Sportimage

But McGoldrick, United’s leading goalscorer this term, is open to the prospect of Heckingbottom being handed the job long-term, saying: “Hecky, I really like him and the boys are responding. Hecky is our manager for pre-season, that’s the way the boys are looking at it right now.”

“The boys want to know, there’s no hiding from that,” McGoldrick continued. “We will find out when the fans find out, we won’t get a letter or a phone call or anything like that.

“It’s going to be a very weird summer. The new manager might fancy some of us. Others of us, he might not. We’re going to be very nervous.”

Paul Heckingbottom (R): Darren Staples / Sportimage