Why has Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder praised arch-rivals' Sheffield Wednesday's players as well as his own?

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder believes players from both of the city’s major clubs have shown they care about the community, after describing much of the criticism football faced at the beginning of the coronavirus crisis as undeserved and unwarranted.

Thursday, 23rd April 2020, 3:48 pm

Despite insisting those working at the highest level of the game do not deserve “patting on the back” for agreeing to wage and bonus deferrals, as United’s first team squad did earlier this week, the 52-year-old took aim at those who had questioned the game’s motives while negotiations at Bramall Lane and elsewhere had been taking place.

A number of Wilder’s squad, who were seventh in the Premier League before the season was suspended last month, have made contributions to charities working with those affected by Covid-19.

Many of their counterparts at Sheffield Wednesday, who compete at Championship level, have made similar gestures and Wilder said: “Our lads and those at Wednesday do an enormous amount of charity work that often goes unnoticed. I don’t think they need patting on the back for that and they won’t want patting on the back for that, but they do it."

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“We’re lucky in this region because we’ve got some wonderful clubs who are proud parts of their communities,” Wilder continued. “It’s not just about the two Sheffield clubs, there’s Rotherham, Barnsley, Doncaster Rovers and Chesterfield too, plus those lower down the pyramid.

“But I do think our professional got a bit of bad press with people coming out of the traps when they didn’t need to.”

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Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder (left) and Owls boss Garry Monk

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Chris Wilder is a diehard Sheffield United fan but he says Sheffield Wednesday's players deserve recognition for their work too: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
Sheffield United have not played since the beginning of last month, when they beat Premier League rivals Norwich City at home: Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images