Why one player who has experienced the pain of relegation believes Sheffield United won't be dragged into a survival battle

Sheffield United have too much “grit and determination” to lose their battle for Premier League survival this season, according to one player who has first hand experience of being relegated.

Saturday, 3rd October 2020, 11:46 am

Aaron Ramsdale, the England under-21 goalkeeper, returned to Bramall Lane in August when his three year spell with AFC Bournemouth came to an end following their slide into the Championship.

Ramsdale was a rare success story at The Vitality Stadium last term, collecting an army of admirers, including Three Lions manager Gareth Southgate, by producing a series of impressive displays in difficult circumstances.

Tracing United’s journey through the divisions since Chris Wilder’s appointment - they were languishing in League One when he took charge in May 2016 - Ramsdale said: “The clubs are in different positions. Bournemouth were, in my eyes, an established Premier League club but it was the first time it had struggled so it was an eye opener.

“Here, this manager and this club has been through a lot. I just think there’s a bit more grit and determination here as a club. And that needs to be here.”

Ramsdale, aged 22, moved to the south coast midway through Wilder’s first campaign at the helm of a United side which, after delivering promotion at the first time of asking, went on to reach the top-flight only two seasons later.

Although Wilder has delivered almost unparalleled levels of success, United enter tomorrow’s match at Arsenal having lost their first three outings of the new campaign following defeats by Wolverhampton Wanderers, Aston Villa and Leeds. Speaking to journalists via Zoom yesterday morning, before United completed the signing of Ramsdale’s international colleague Rhian Brewster from Liverpool, Wilder insisted his squad’s efforts had been undermined by a series of poor refereeing decisions - such as John Egan’s dismissal at Villa Park - but acknowledged it must also “tighten up” in certain areas. Brewster’s presence is designed to ensure United exploit the type of openings they created during the meeting with Marcelo Bielsa’s side six days ago before Patrick Bamford scored the only goal of the game in the 88th minute.

Remembering how United lost three of their first four league outings under Wilder’s tutelage before going on to collect 100 points and lift the League One title at a canter, Ramsdale cited a message recently published on social media by the father of Regan Slater - the United midfielder who has just joined Hull City on loan.

Sheffield United's goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale believes his team mates will begin gathering momentum soon: Alex Livesey/Pool via AP

“Regan Slater’s dad mentioned it the other day, he put it on Twitter - The last time this happened, the club got 100 points,” Ramsdale said. “That happens in football, if you get a new signing or a player hits a purple patch then momentum really builds and the other players think ‘Let’s go and smash this league.’ You saw that here last year. The quality of the group is there. It’s just momentum and when that gets going, I know we’ll be okay if we show that grit to turn things around. We will.”

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Rhian Brewster is unveiled by Sheffield United following his move from Liverpool: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
Aaron Ramsdale is set to make his latest appearance for Sheffield United at Arsenal tomorrow: Simon Bellis/Sportimage