Chris Wilder has urged footballers to ‘man-up’ and take charge of their own careers rather than being dictated to by agents.
The Sheffield United manager was speaking after accusing Jerome Sinclair’s representative of wrecking the Watford centre-forward’s loan move to Bramall Lane last week.
With United’s refusal to renegotiate the agreement they had struck with Sinclair’s parent club Watford also scuppering their plans to sign West Ham’s Domingos Quina, Wilder said: “The biggest situation is that players have go to take more control of their own careers in my opinion. It is their career.
“I’ve always thought that football, playing football, is the biggest driver. I’m not alone, I spoke to Harry Redknapp at Birmingham City about it, in a general sense. We talked about players taking ownership, ‘manning-up’, showing some b***s and making decisions for their own career.”
“One agent said to me ‘that’s my asset, that’s my future’ and that can’t be for the good of a footballer’s career, especially the younger ones,” Wilder added. “Listen, I’m not anti-agent at all. They play a part in the game and I’ve got fantastic relationships with most of them. There are some really good ones.”
Sinclair, who has since refuted United’s version of events, could now be forced to wait until the transfer window reopens in January before playing another senior game.
Wilder, who progressed through Southampton’s youth system before joining United, stressed: “There’s no criticism of West Ham United football and their secretary or of Watford and their chief executive. The deals were done. I’ve not been critical of the player, far from it. We wanted him up here on the Friday before. I totally understand it’s a big decision; I’ve had to make big decisions myself. Do I sign for Sheffield United at 14 or do I go to Southampton?”
“I know how the industry works more than any young footballer, more than any agent and possibly more than a lot of other people at clubs,” he added. “I’ve been in it since I was 14. I’ve managed at non-league, conference level and to here. There’s been a lot of stuff I’ve had to go through. I’ve started out at the bottom and possibly seen and done pretty much everything. At every level, barring one and I’d love to get there.”