Sheffield United: World Cup contingent proves club is up there with the very best
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After Adam Davies was confirmed among the 26 man party which will represent Wales in the Middle East, while Iliman Ndiaye could shortly discover if he has been called-up by Senegal, Heckingbottom shone a light on United’s record in nurturing footballing talent capable of performing at the highest level of the game.
Although Davies was signed from Stoke City last season, Ndiaye progressed through the system at the Randox Health Academy after being recruited from Boreham Wood. Davies’ fellow goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale has been picked by the Three Lions alongside Kyle Walker of Manchester City and Manchester United’s Harry Maguire. Like Ramsdale, who joined Arsenal at the beginning of last term, they took their first steps on the professional ladder with United.
Reminding that Rhys Norrington-Davies, another Randox Health Academy graduate, was set to be selected by Wales until a serious hamstring injury ruled him out of the tournament, Heckingbottom told The Star: “Us, as a club, we should shout about it. Rhys should be going too if he hadn’t got hurt and he was brought through here.”
“Yes, we should definitely shout about that. It shows the success and the track record here. We should use that to highlight attention and then bring the next ones in.”
“Prince Abdullah (bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud), our owner, has spoken about the need to make the club more sustainable,” Heckingbottom added. “About the need to do things differently to how they’ve been done in the past. So from a club’s point of view, it’s big. Really big.”
United have prepared for tomorrow’s visit to Cardiff City ranked third in the Championship table. They will climb to first if they win in the Welsh capital, with leaders Burnley and second-placed Blackburn Rovers set to contest the final match before the top two tiers of English football shutting down for a month a day later.
“With Aaron, Harry and Kyle as well,” Heckingbottom said, “That’s something we should be really proud of.”