Blades youths need passing interest at top level

ACADEMY director John Pemberton believes Sheffield United’s next manager adopting a passing style of football will help the club’s promising group of youngsters make the step-up to the first team.

The Blades this season reached the final of the FA Youth Cup for the first time and were unfortunate to come up against a strong Manchester United side, who triumphed 6-3 on aggregate over two legs.

Despite Monday night’s 4-1 second leg defeat at Old Trafford, United’s youngsters emerged with huge credit from a barn-storming run that saw Cheltenham, Millwall, Blackpool, Leicester City and Aston Villa all beaten.

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Among the many plaudits that came the Blades’ way during that run was praise for their passing style of football, something that Pemberton would like to see adopted by the first team at Bramall Lane.

The former United defender, who is among several in contention to succeed Micky Adams, said: “I don’t know who will get the job. But, in my opinion, they have got to be ready to try to play the same way as we do.

“Otherwise, it is going to be very difficult for these lads to come through and establish themselves at that level. Personally, I think we have got to change. Football is changing.

“We have tried to go about our business the right way and we have got some very talented and capable players coming through the ranks. There is no point in us simply asking them to overpower people.

“Yes, we might get some success by doing that at this level but what happens when all of the others elsewhere, who have been brought up the right way, get big and strong too? You’re left with nothing.

“Whoever comes in will go about things in the manner they see fit and that’s quite right. It’s their prerogative.

“But, if you ask me, I think this is the best route to take.”

On his side’s display at Old Trafford, Pemberton said: “They acquitted themselves well. Jordan (Slew) did well but he wasn’t the only one; far from it in fact.

“If you look at someone like Terry Kennedy; well, if he was a foot taller then he would be in the first team now without a shadow of a doubt as far as I’m concerned. But he’ll keep on improving.

“I told the lads not to be too disappointed (at losing).

“Obviously, they were disappointed with the result. We all are.

“But they should also look around, think they’re out there on the pitch at Old Trafford, and think how far they’ve come and what they’ve achieved. It will be a great experience for every one of them.”