At first glance Sheffield United appear to have precious little in common with last night’s visitors Inter Milan.
The Nerazzurri possess a hat-trick of European Cups in their bloated trophy cabinet as well as 18 Serie A titles.
Despite the vast differences in worldwide pull and the type of players they can attract both clubs will nevertheless be looking to build on breakthrough campaigns last time out.
While Inter were securing a return to Europe’s top table after a six-year hiatus from the Champions League the Blades were enjoying life having ended half-a-dozen years of pain of their own.
They marked a hugely successful return to the Championship with a tenth-placed finish and will be looking to continue their upward trajectory when the new season begins in earnest on Saturday week.
This fixture against a star-studded Inter side was preceded by a rendition of Nessun Dorma, the tune that will forever be associated with Italia 90. Some of the football from the visitors was, at times, worthy of such a beautiful soundtrack never more so than when Luciano Spalletti’s team restored parity before the interval through Mauro Icardi, who finished off a fine move that was started by two exquisite passes.
But it was not all one-way traffic. Chris Wilder’s side adopted a high press from the off that was complemented by snappy, well-timed tackles.
Earlier in the day United had announced the signing of David McGoldrick, on a one-year deal, and he took less than half an hour to register his first strike as a permanent Blade.
John Fleck did brilliantly to take three Inter players out of the game and clip a pass to McGoldrick, who finished with aplomb past Samir Handanovic.
Icardi, who notched 29 times last season, levelled before a tighter second half.
The visitors bossed possession, but failed to find a way past a resolute and well-drilled home rearguard to ensure spoils were shared.
United were left to reflect on a hugely encouraging evening and Wilder will be hoping that, like the pre-match musical entertainment, his troops hit plenty of high notes over the next nine months.