Sheffield United: The people set to decide who will be handed the task of delivering a key part of the club's "strategic vision"

Sheffield United will appoint a replacement for Jack Lester, after their former academy chief left his role with the club’s youth programme to join the first team coaching staff.

Wednesday, 1st December 2021, 1:42 pm

Lester, who made 50 appearances for United before returning as a player, was confirmed as their new head of player development as part of the reshuffle which saw Paul Heckingbottom replace Slavisa Jokanovic as manager.

With United outlining plans to become a category one academy at some point in the future - although a change of training ground, coupled with significant ongoing investment, must be secured before this is achieved - Lester acknowledged the positions both he and Heckingbottom vacated will be filled shortly.

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Iliman Ndiaye is a graduate of Sheffield United's development programme: Alistair Langham / Sportimage

“Selection of new academy manager, of new coaches, I’ll be involved in that,” Lester said. “They’ll be really aligned. “That makes sense, for it to come through the club.”

Previously United’s under-23’s coach, Heckingbottom is expected to help Lester draw-up a shortlist of potential appointments after being told he will be expected to influence club policy way beyond first team affairs. That could see the 44-year-old handed responsibility for helping to shape the new “strategic vision” chairman Yusuf Giansiracusa insisted had paved the way for Jokanovic’s departure.

United, who have placed home grown talent at the heart of their masterplan to regain Premier League status after being relegated last season, return to action with a trip to Cardiff City this weekend. Goals from Rhian Brewster and Billy Sharp saw then begin life under Heckingbottom with a win, when Bristol City visited South Yorkshire on Sunday.

Stuart McCall, Paul Heckinbottom and Jack Lester at Sheffield United's training ground: Simon Bellis/Sportimage