Lockdown bringing out the best in rivals Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United, says Chris Wilder

FOR Chris Wilder, the coronavirus crisis is bringing out the very best in community spirit and togetherness in his home city of Sheffield.

John Lundstram. Picture: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Just as Steel City residents are doing their bit amid a challenging period, so its two football clubs are also stepping up to the plate at a juncture when club colours are temporarily irrelevant.

As a lifelong Blade, United chief Wilder does not dish out praise readily when discussions turn to the subject of Sheffield Wednesday. But he is happy to make an exception this time.

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Both Blades and Owls players are helping to raise morale among supporters in testing times – as they have consistently done across the city for many years.

In the process, it helps debunk the myth that footballers are greedy and self-interested, a charge that Wilder believes is false.

Wilder said: “We have come together and I think the attitude towards the players at the start of all this was a little bit distasteful.

“But as it has come around, they have done their bit and always will do. A lot of work is done by players of both Sheffield clubs that is not spread over the media and even in the county with what clubs do behind the scenes.

“There are an awful lot of opinions and speculation, but thankfully for me, there is a bit of a light at the end of the tunnel.”

Wilder is expecting discussions regarding new deals for John Lundstram and John Egan to ‘accelerate’ in the weeks ahead.

The Blades hierarchy were engaged in dialogue with the duo and their representatives earlier in the Spring – but talks were temporarily placed on the back burner amid football’s shutdown amid the Covid-19 crisis.

But with Premier League clubs now making preparations to return to competitive action next month as part of Project Restart, Wilder says that talks will resume in due course.

Wilder said: “Hopefully now that the boys are back in full-time training, we can accelerate those discussions with John and a couple of others to resolve those situations.

“The vibe I am getting from the payers is that they are as keen as we are to complete those contract talks and committing their future to Sheffield United.”

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