Sheffield United: Why McCall still has it all to prove

Former Scotland international Stuart McCall endured an unhappy three-year spell at Bradford City
Former Scotland international Stuart McCall endured an unhappy three-year spell at Bradford City
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He may be the red hot favourite with the bookmakers to become Sheffield United’s third boss in the space of two months.

But former Blades midfielder Stuart McCall has still got to prove his managerial credentials in England.

The former Scotland international, who spent two years as a player at Bramall Lane before becoming assistant to Neil Warnock, managed Bradford City from May 2007 to February 2010. In his first job in management, McCall failed to lead the West Yorkshire club into the League Two play-offs and he ultimately resigned.

However, he has impressively rebuilt his reputation north of the border with Motherwell, steering the Steelmen into the Europa League qualifiers for the last two seasons. Having transformed Motherwell’s fortunes, McCall has recently been named the Scottish Premier League manager of the year. He also led the club to the Scottish Cup final two years ago.

In the last 48 hours, United have approached Motherwell, asking for permission to speak to McCall regarding their vacant managerial position. It was just two months ago McCall signed a new two-year deal with the Scottish Premier League runners-up.

Another contender vying to succeed Danny Wilson is MK Dons chief Karl Robinson. Understood to be on a rolling contract at stadium:mk, it is likely United would need to pay a six-figure compensation fee to prize Robinson away from their League One rivals.

The former Liverpool coach is a big believer in his teams playing an attractive brand of football. Robinson’s footballing beliefs have largely proven to be successful, although promotion to the Championship has eluded them. In two of his three years in charge, the Dons have qualified for the play-offs, losing to Peterborough in 2011 and Huddersfield Town last year. They finished two points and two places outside of the top-six this time around. United could hold face-to-face talks with Robinson, who has never managed above League One level, this week.

As revealed earlier this month by The Star, Gareth Southgate also features United’s shortlist for the role. It is thought the Football Association’s former head of elite development and ex-Middlesbrough chief wants to get back in the dug-out, having worked as a TV pundit.

Chris Morgan is also under consideration, having guided United into the play-offs following Wilson’s departure.