Why Sheffield United's players were summoned to Bramall Lane
Sheffield United’s players were summoned to Bramall Lane yesterday, as the Premier League club prepares to resume its push for European football later this month.
Chris Wilder’s side, who have not competed since March because of the Covid-19 pandemic, gathered at their home stadium for discussions with the club’s coaching staff and hierarchy after spending the week at the Steelphalt Academy.
Although United officials have not publicly revealed the reason behind the change of venue, which occurred on the day Wilder’s squad were scheduled to undergo their latest round of coronavirus tests, it is thought the manager and his coaching staff wanted to prepare them for the challenge of competing inside an empty ground. All of this season’s remaining fixtures are set to take place behind closed doors, because of measures designed to limit the spread of the respiratory disease.
Wilder is also understood to have used the get-together to remind his team of their responsibilities away from the game, as United hope to avoid losing key members of their squad during the final 10 games of the campaign because they are isolating in quarantine.
With only five points separating them from fourth-placed Chelsea, but teams now permitted to use five substitutes rather than three, it is imperative that everyone under Wilder’s command is fit and eligible for selection. Unlike many of his top-flight counterparts, the 52-year-old prefers not to rotate his selections. United, for example, have utilised only 22 players so far this term. Tottenham Hotspur, in eighth, have picked 29 - one more than fifth-placed Manchester United.