Nigel Adkins, the Sheffield United manager, believes Callum McFadzean possesses the talent to become a first-team regular at Bramall Lane.
But McFadzean, who hopes to be named in the squad which hosts Fleetwood Town this evening, has been told there is no such thing as a guaranteed career path at Bramall Lane.
“Callum is young and he’s come through the system,” Adkins said. “He started the season for us in fact.
“He’s got a lot to learn but what I really like about him, other than the fact he’s a really promising player of course, is that he’s got a great desire to improve.
“What we’ve got to do is give him the environment to do that. If he still wants to progress and get better, then he’s got a great chance going forward. We genuinely think that.”
McFadzean, a member of the United squad which reached the final of the FA Youth Cup five seasons ago, is among 38 Steelphalt Academy graduates to make their professional debuts since its inception. With George Long, Conor Dimaio and Diego De Girolamo also featuring under Adkins this term, the 21-year-old is at the vanguard of his attempts to create a lasting legacy at Bramall Lane. Louis Reed, another home-grown player, has also been capped by England at youth level.
“We want players to flourish here,” Adkins said. “To do that, they have to be able to make decisions for themselves out there on the pitch. To be bold without fear of reprisal.
“It’s okay to do something wrong, so long as you learn from it. You’ll never hear us criticise someone if they have tried to do the right thing but it hasn’t come off for example.
“We’ve got some great coaches here and, ultimately, you learn by doing. That’s the atmosphere we want and are creating here behind the scenes.”
Adkins, speaking following training yesterday, confirmed centre-half David Edgar will be unavailable for Town’s visit before confirming James Wallace has suffered a fresh injury blow. John Brayford also completed a light session on Sunday after being forced to withdraw from an under-21 fixture recently. He has not featured since last season’s play-off semi-final with Swindon.