Nigel Adkins has held one-to-one talks with every member of Sheffield United’s squad in a bid to ensure there are no distractions throughout the forthcoming League One season, writes James Shield.
Adkins admitted the policy, which served him well at both Scunthorpe and Southampton, is designed to improve lines of communication behind the scenes following a series of well-documented fall-outs last term.
“Everyone had an individual one-on-one for half an hour,” he told The Star. “I went through my remit and the standardised way that I go about things.
“If you can imagine, the size of the squad - and everyone getting that half-hour - meant it was a lot of talking. But that was very important.
“And the talking continues. We will have the one-on-ones through the season.
“We are looking to help people improve. It is a two-way thing and there are so many things.”
Although Adkins has tactfully refused to be drawn on the reign of his predecessor, the 50-year-old’s brief, as instructed by United’s board of directors, includes establishing better relationships between the coaching and playing staff.
Bramall Lane’s hierarchy, which dispensed with Nigel Clough’s services soon after May’s play-off semi-final defeat, are known to have grown concerned by what they perceived as the former England international’s increasingly dictatorial approach en route to the double-header against Swindon Town.
Adkins, who took charge last month, twice delivered Championship football to Glanford Park before leading Southampton from the third to the first tier in only 24 months.
Despite refusing to divulge exact details of his meetings with United’s senior squad, he did provide a basic framework of the subjects discussed.
“What is expected of them. What they expect? A contractual situation, all things like that,” Adkins said. “Why they are in the team or why they are not. All these things are conversations to have in private.
“It has been a successful way of operating in the past and I would like to think it will be again in the future. The players can be honest, too.
“That’s absolutely key. It wouldn’t work otherwise.
“We have to be a United football club. I can see straight away that this is forming very quickly.”