This is what training now looks like at Sheffield United

Judging by the pictures published on Bramall Lane’s social media channels, Sheffield United’s players could not wait strap-on their shin pads and resume contract training following two months of stretching, running and pedalling on their club issue watt bikes.

Saturday, 30th May 2020, 7:00 am

Chris Wilder’s squad are notoriously hard trainers at the best of times. So it was no surprise, after spending more than two months in lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic, to see them flying into tackles in the sunshine at Shirecliffe.

But as they prepare for June 17th’s visit to Aston Villa - the first Premier League fixture since the season was suspended in March - United’s players must still adhere to a series of strict rules and guidelines whenever they report to work. This week’s decision to implement phase two of ‘Project Restart’ represented a return to something nearer normality. Not normality itself.

Although challenges are now permitted and restrictions on the amount of time footballers can spend with coaching staff have been lifted, numbers taking part in the sessions remain limited.

Sign up to our Sheffield United newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

That means eleven versus eleven practice matches are still prohibited although it is hoped the situation could, depending upon the latest round of Covid-19 tests results, change shortly.

United and their top-flight rivals have also been instructed not to share equipment, with bibs and mannequins being disinfected after use.

Although they are now allowed to warm-up together, albeit whilst following social distancing protocols, drinks breaks are required to be kept to a minimum while dressing rooms at the Steelphalt Academy remain closed.

An important message:

Billy Sharp, Phil Jagielka and George Baldock at Sheffield United's Steelphalt Academy complex: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news, please purchase a copy of our newspapers or subscribe to

The coronavirus lockdown is having a major impact on many of our local advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive. That means we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers and subscribe to our website during this crisis.

Stay safe and take care. Thank you. James.