Former Sheffield United goalkeeper Paddy Kenny has said that some of the academy’s biggest products in recent years will act as inspiration for the next batch of young footballers coming through.
The Blades return to the Sky Bet Championship for next season as they aim to get themselves back into the Premier League at the first time of asking.
It’ll be interesting to see if any of the talents from the academy play their part in the battle, too, with the club well-known for some of its graduates in the past.
Indeed, four of them were in the England squad at EURO 2020 with Harry Maguire, Kyle Walker, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Aaron Ramsdale all called-up by manager Gareth Southgate and Kenny believes that should inspire the next set of players coming through to feel as though they can make it at the top level as well.
Speaking to Football Insider, he said:
“This will be a big help and you’d expect it to carry on.
“If there are youngsters out there that you and other clubs are after and they see who you’ve brought through, it’s always going to help you attract them.
“They’ve got good coaches, good facilities and brought so many England players through over the years.
“Even back in the day, you had some unbelievable players come through and I played with quite a few.
“You had Phil Jagielka, Nick Montgomery, Michael Tonge, Kyle Naughton, Matt Lowton, they all made good careers coming through the Sheffield United academy.
“The England players now, Calvert-Lewin, Maguire, Walker, Ramsdale, if you throw those names out there you’re like ‘wow’.
“The talent that’s come through has done unbelievably well at club level and international.
“Kyle Walker was talking about how playing in the play-off final against Burnley was one of his proudest moments and I played in that game with him.
“Harry Maguire came through just as I was leaving. I knew Ramsdale when he was a kid too.“
The Blades have got a happy knack of producing good players and, as Kenny mentions, it’s been going on since well before the current England quartet made their progress in their careers.
Slavisa Jokanovic will be eager to see what he’s got coming through for the future, too, with him showing at clubs like Fulham he’ll give a player a chance if they’re good enough.