Sheffield United can finally start planning for life in the Premier League after their promotion was confirmed with Leeds’ draw with Aston Villa on Sunday afternoon.
The Blades ended their 12-year absence from the top-flight after beating Ipswich Town 2-0 on Saturday evening and watched on the following day as their Yorkshire rivals slipped up.
Manager Chris Wilder has worked wonders with his squad since taking over in League One, and has managed to secure two promotions in three seasons. However, the boyhood fan now has some big decisions to make as United prepare their squad for the demands of the Premier League.
And one key Blade will be at the centre of his manager’s thinking after winning his third consecutive Championship promotion, but never featuring in the top-flight.
Oliver Norwood starred for Brighton and Fulham in their recent promotions, but he has always dropped back down a division in the summer. However, it appears things will be different this year.
Norwood has played a pivotal role in United’s promotion, providing an assured presence in midfield while also instigating danger with his set-piece ability.
The 28-year-old has been unlucky to not yet receive his Premier League break, but it now appears his time has finally come.
Wilder has already signalled his confidence in Norwood by signing him on a permanent deal in January, after he initially joined on loan at the start of the season.
This suggests he is finally in line to make his mark in the top-flight after being denied the opportunity in previous years.
The Northern Irish international has made 42 appearances for the Blades this season, scoring three goals and registering nine assists in the process.
He has also captained the side in recent weeks, displaying his leadership qualities in addition to his excellent ball retention skills.
Norwood offers a high level of composure in midfield, and this is an important trait for players in newly-promoted sides. Those around them sometimes struggle to reach the level of maturity to succeed in the top-flight, but Norwood certainly does not have that problem.
Wilder will be well aware that his star midfielder could be an asset to the Blades on their Premier League return.