Sheffield United star reveals when he faced a team mate in a semi-final ahead of Man City FA Cup clash

On Saturday afternoon, when Sheffield United meet Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-finals, Max Lowe and Wes Foderingham will be brothers-in-arms. But only five years ago they were sworn enemies, staring suspiciously at each other across the Hampden Park tunnel before the touch paper was lit under another explosive fixture between Aberdeen and Rangers.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

“Wes and I still chat about it now,” Lowe tells The Star, reflecting on the day he helped the team from Pittodrie edge past the Glaswegian giants in the last four of the Scottish League Cup. “He always tries to batter me because we played four centre-halves. I’m not having any of it though, because we won the game and went through which was all that mattered. He’d rather have gone through, they’d rather have won the game. That was us, though, we got there, so Wes can come out with whatever he likes.”

Although Lowe and his former teammates failed to go on and lift the trophy, getting beaten by Celtic later that term, the defender aims to put the experience he gained during his time in the Highlands to good effect this weekend. The reigning Premier League champions and having spent over one billion euros collecting some of the world’s finest sporting talent, Pep Guardiola’s side are not only expected to win but win big when they lock horns with United inside Wembley Stadium. Like Foderingham, the former Rangers goalkeeper, Lowe acknowledges the calibre of opponent Paul Heckingbottom’s team will be facing. But after moving north of the border on loan, ahead of his switch to Bramall Lane 20 months ago, he won’t be overawed by the occasion. Not after facing the wrath of the Old Firm before returning to England.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Everything up there, it made me become a man,” Lowe says. “It was my first time away from home and trust me, when you come up against Rangers and Celtic those games are massive. The one Aberdeen had with Rangers, that was the worst rivalry I’ve ever played in. I’ve not tasted our (the Sheffield) derby yet but I was still young when I went up there and, seriously, it’s something else.”

Ibrox, that was the best place in terms of atmosphere. There were matches there where, genuinely, you couldn’t hear yourself speak to the guy who was right next to you.

“They live and breathe football in Scotland and, for anyone down here who isn’t playing or who wants to get their career kick started properly, I’d definitely recommend that they go up there and try it out.”

Sheffield United face Pep Guardiola's side at Wembley on Saturday: Tom Dulat/Getty ImagesSheffield United face Pep Guardiola's side at Wembley on Saturday: Tom Dulat/Getty Images
Sheffield United face Pep Guardiola's side at Wembley on Saturday: Tom Dulat/Getty Images

“I remember agreeing to go,” he continues, “And thinking it was a couple of hours away, not realising it was actually about eight. It was the first time of my life when I was on my own and having to fend totally for myself. It made me grow up fast and much more mature, responsible and serious about what I was doing.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Lowe has made nearly 40 appearances for United since joining them from Derby County. Like Foderingham, who was initially recruited to deputise for Aaron Ramsdale, his career in South Yorkshire initially proved to be a slow burn; spending last term with Nottingham Forest and helping them gain promotion from the Championship. Now back in South Yorkshire, Lowe has cemented his place in Heckingbottom’s thinking and, with Foderingham now available again following suspension, is expected to start against a City squad with the likes of Jack Grealish, Riyad Mahrez and Erling Haaland at its disposal. United, second in the Championship table and hoping to make assignments with City a regular feature of their calendar, enter the contest in the unusual role of underdogs.

“At this point of the season, it can be more mentally stressful than anything else,” Lowe admits. “It can be tiring that way but we’ve been getting bodies back after having a fair few injuries and that really does help. The thing is, in this one, we can go into it and enjoy it. Give everything. The pressure is on someone else for a change instead of us.”

Sheffield United defender Max Lowe: Andrew Yates / SportimageSheffield United defender Max Lowe: Andrew Yates / Sportimage
Sheffield United defender Max Lowe: Andrew Yates / Sportimage

Lowe’s family help him cope with the psychological demands of professional sport, with United knowing that absolute concentration is required during the clash with City.

“I always do things with them, just getting away from football, even though it’s hard to find that balance. You can never switch off totally from it, because you’re always thinking ahead, But you do need a release if you are going to keep performing at your best.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Lowe’s young child attended their first United match last month, when Tommy Doyle’s late strike saw them beat Blackburn Rovers in the quarter-finals.

Sheffield United goalkeeper Wes Foderingham is expected to face Manchester City: Simon Bellis/SportimageSheffield United goalkeeper Wes Foderingham is expected to face Manchester City: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
Sheffield United goalkeeper Wes Foderingham is expected to face Manchester City: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

“They’re still at age when all they want to do is run around rather than sit there and watch. But it was great to they were there.”

Lowe’s nearest and dearest are now getting ready to watch him come up against some of the biggest footballing names on the planet, for the right to face either Manchester United or Brighton and Hove Albion in June’s showpiece final. After dispatching Millwall, Wrexham and most notably Tottenham Hotspur en route to the clash with Rovers, United believe they can spring an upset. In order to do that, they must work together as a unit and deliver their greatest performance of Heckingbottom’s reign.

“I do think we’ve got a really special group because we’re all like family too,” Lowe says. “We go out for coffee as a group and everyone gets along. We’re ready to go that extra mile for each other and that counts for a lot. Wes and me, we’re on the same side now and we’ll be giving everything.”