What Sheffield United's youngsters can learn from Ivan Toney ahead of Brentford star's Chris Wilder reunion

Ivan Toney set for Chris Wilder reunion when Sheffield United travel to Brentford this weekend
The former Barnsley loanee is reportedly set to start against Belgium.The former Barnsley loanee is reportedly set to start against Belgium.
The former Barnsley loanee is reportedly set to start against Belgium.

Ivan Toney’s remarkable rise from League One to the Premier League and the England squad, in the space of a few years, can act as the perfect example of the virtue of patience regarding Sheffield United’s young players ahead of the Brentford striker’s reunion with Chris Wilder this afternoon. Toney played under Wilder at Northampton Town, making his debut for the Cobblers at 16 years old.

Toney got a big move to the top-flight with Newcastle but had to work his way up again from the lower leagues after loan spells at Barnsley (twice), Scunthorpe (twice), Shrewsbury Town and Wigan, before Brentford bought him from Peterborough in 2020. A goal-laden spell at Brentford has seen him establish himself as one of deadliest strikers in the Premier League, scoring 20 goals last season before being derailed by a suspension for breaching betting rules.

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United have their own starlets in a similar mould, in Will Osula and Daniel Jebbison and although Wilder stopped short of predicting that either will enjoy the rapid rise that Toney has had, it is another example of how important patience can be when dealing with young players. “Newcastle didn't get him going,” Wilder said.

"Look at our two young players, Jebbison and Osula and the characteristics they've got. Number nines, modern-day centre-forwards. Strong, powerful and athletic. Obviously Ivan had all those tools and I'm not saying our boys will go on to have the career Ivan's had. But it's been a while coming and he'll possibly be the first to admit that.

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“Loans here, there and everywhere. Obviously he found a good home at Peterborough and developed off the back of that. He then got his move and then we’ve seen the numbers you are talking about and getting in the England squad. So with young players you need time and patience because they're going to make mistakes and I'm sure Ivan did as a young player.

"But if somebody believes in them, which we do in our young players, then hopefully they come through. We're all looking for it to be now of course, the next six and 12 months, but he's a great example to our players and everyone at the club that this might take a bit of time with the young ones.”

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