Sheffield United’s Steelphalt Academy today scored another success when three of its latest graduates, including Ben Whiteman and David Brooks, signed new contracts with the League One club.
Nigel Adkins, United’s manager, has previously spoken about the need to strengthen the “pathway” for home-grown players into his first team squad and, speaking earlier this afternoon, insisted the duo, together with Jake Eastwood and Jake Wright, have demonstrated the “hunger” and “attitude” to establish themselves at senior level.
“An important part of a player’s development is to have the hunger and attitude to work hard at their game and the passion to play football at the highest possible standard,” Adkins said. “We are pleased to give these lads more opportunity to develop and endeavour to be first team regulars at Bramall Lane.”
Whiteman, aged 19, made his league debut for United earlier this year while Brooks, previously of Manchester City, was an unused substitute against Crewe Alexandra and Southend last month.
Eastwood, also 19, was recently selected to train with England at youth level while Wright has scored regularly for the under-21’s.
Although no details were given regarding the length of their respective deals, the decision to award the quartet fresh terms underlines United’s commitment to youth development. Graham Kelly, George Long, Louis Reed and Billy Sharp have also been utilised by Adkins this term after progressing through the system at Bramall Lane.
England internationals Phil Jagielka and Kyle Walker also started their professional careers with United whose work has been commended by both the Premier League and researchers working on behalf of the Elite Player Performance Plan.