Sheffield United: Manager rounds-on his team’s detractors

James Hanson and Jay O'Shea (right) joined Sheffield United last month: Simon Bellis/Sportimage
James Hanson and Jay O'Shea (right) joined Sheffield United last month: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Chris Wilder last night mounted a passionate defence of Sheffield United’s transfer policy, insisting he had “no qualms” about Aaron Ramsdale’s deadline day move to AFC Bournemouth.

The teenage goalkeeper joined Eddie Howe’s side for a fee in excess of £1m on Tuesday evening after progressing through the youth system at Bramall Lane.

Chris Wilder does not understand some of the criticism Sheffield United have faced

Chris Wilder does not understand some of the criticism Sheffield United have faced

Although Ramsdale’s departure, combined with the recent sales of Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Che Adams, has prompted accusations United are a ‘selling club’, Wilder said: “What’s happened in the past isn’t what’s happening now. Trust me, I know because I’ve been a part of this club and I’ve been dismayed by some of the departures, before coming in, at times. We’re talking about young players here. The move from League One to the Premier League in two out of the three cases and the other (Adams), who was going back home as it were, and wanted that move to happen. I don’t look at it like we’re losing (Brian) Deane and (Jan Åge) Fjørtoft. This is different.

“People have bought potential and they’ve paid for that potential. This isn’t a boom and bust club anymore. We’re working within a budget and that’s absolutely right.”

Wilder signed six players during last month’s transfer window, with Ethan Ebanks-Landell’s loan move from Wolverhampton Wanderers also being renewed until the end of the campaign.

Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s game against AFC Wimbledon, Wilder added: “There’s been no gun put to my head in terms of moving players on. But we’re still a League One club. I’ve got no qualms about Aaron. “We still want to get to where we want to be in a sustainable fashion. But I’ve not lost (John) Fleck, I’ve not lost (Paul) Coutts. I’ve not lost Billy (Sharp), Simon Moore or Mark Duffy. I’ve lost a young goalkeeper with potential and we’ve decided, with everything that goes with it, that this is a very good deal for the football club. Sometimes, we have to make these decisions.”

Chris Wilder is pleased with the make-up of his squad: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Chris Wilder is pleased with the make-up of his squad: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Ramsdale, an England youth international, made two appearances for United after progressing through their youth system. Everton saw a bid rejected for the 18-year-old before he agreed a four-and-a-half year contract at Dean Court.

“There is a sell-on involved and it’s up front money,” Wilder said. “He’s not played 60 or 70 games. You are still in the unknown with him. He’s not got 150 games under his belt. We’re not selling players who have played 25 or 40 games or are in the first team. We’re looking at young kids with potential and, like it or lump it, we are where we are.”

“Without being arrogant about it, I don’t think people can chuck anything at me about selling players,” Wilder added. “About selling TC (Tony Currie) to Leeds and the biggest one, Deane and Fjortoft. Our academy produces players for our first team and also players who move on to other clubs. Maybe if we were in the Championship or the Premier League, then we’d have a different decision to make. Hopefully we’ll get there soon and that’s the key. But we’ve been backed and I’m thankful for that.”