Sheffield United's players are told 'Your next manager is watching' ahead of Arsenal clash

Sheffield United’s players have been told the club’s next permanent manager will be watching their performance against Arsenal tomorrow, and will use displays between now and the end of the season to shape decision-making next term.

Saturday, 10th April 2021, 6:00 am

Speaking as United’s relegation from the Premier League edges closer to being mathematically confirmed, Paul Heckingbottom issued the reminder in an attempt to try and deliver some face-saving results during the remainder of the campaign.

Placed in caretaker charge following Chris Wilder’s departure last month, Heckingbottom is scheduled to remain at the helm until May; by which time Bramall Lane’s board of directors are likely to have identified the 57-year-old’s permanent successor.

“Everyone is watching all the time,” Heckingbottom said. “Whoever the manager is next season, they are going to be watching this game and the ones we’ve got left. What happens during those, they are going to be using that to help them make decisions. So that’s why, no matter what the situation is, it is always vital that you perform.”

Sign up to our Sheffield United newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Paul Heckingbottom (R) and his assistant Jason Tindall: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

United’s hierarchy will press ahead with the selection process this weekend, with Alexander Blessin of Oostende and Slavisa Jokanovic, the former Watford and Fulham manager, both known to be under consideration. However, official talks with neither candidate have yet to take place.

Blesson, whose team faces United’s sister club Beerschot tomorrow night, has impressed owner HRH Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and his footballing advisor Jan van Winckel by turning the Belgians into play-off contenders. But he could struggle to secure a work permit under new post-Brexit rules.

Jokanovic is widely expected to leave Al-Gharafa when his contract with the Qatari club expires shortly.

“Everyone, the young lads included, they have to remember that they’re being watched by whoever is going to be in charge of them going forward,” Heckingbottom said. “If you are a young lad, for example, you come in and do well and that is going to create a really good impression.

“The same goes for the more senior lads. It’s why, what happens now, is so important because it is going to have a huge bearing next season.”