Where Sheffield United rank on the home-grown players list
A new study, analysing the composition of squads across all of Europe’s top 27 leagues, has revealed Sheffield United field more club owned players than all but seven of their domestic rivals.
The research, which could influence the approach United’s next permanent manager adopts when the transfer window reopens this summer, ranked them eighth out of 20 in England - where the average number of minutes completed by those who have spent at least three seasons with their current employers between the ages of 15 and 21 is higher than in both France and Germany.
Despite being relegated last month, United have recently promoted several members of their Steelphalt Academy youth programme through the ranks in recent weeks, with Daniel Jebbison the latest to make his debut during last weekend’s defeat by Crystal Palace. However the Canadian centre-forward, whose mother is English, does not count on the quota having only moved to Bramall Lane two years ago.
The paper, published by academics at the CIES Football Observatory in Switzerland, is significant because it could shape the recruitment strategy Chris Wilder’s successor pursues in an attempt to deliver promotion from the Championship.
Despite calls to start afresh by dismantling a squad which travels to Everton on Sunday hoping to avoid its 29th loss of the campaign, Paul Heckingbottom who took interim charge following Wilder’s departure in March, has spoken at length about the importance of “keeping the group together”. Previously United’s under-23’s coach, a role he will resume in the event of an outside appointment, Heckingbottom also recently told The Star that it would be a mistake to impede the progress of youngsters such as Iliman Ndiaye, Antwoine Hackford and Jebbison by “bringing in” people above them who are not considered immediate starters.
Privately, despite acknowledging confidence is at a low ebb, Heckingbottom has told staff his viewpoint has been shaped by observing the chemistry which still exists inside the dressing room and the risks associated with altering it too quickly.
Brighton and Hove Albion are the PL club most reliant upon club owned players, ahead of Manchester United and Chelsea. Everton are 18th on the list, while Fulham are bottom.