Sheffield United decided to part ways with Chris Wilder earlier this week after enduring a difficult start to the season, the Blades are 14 points from safety, with nine games to go.
Bottom of the Table Sheffield United Part Ways With Chris Wilder
Who Could Replace Wilder?
Chris Wilder’s departure will spell a new era for the football club. Paul Heckingbottom has been named interim manager until the end of the season, with ex-Bournemouth manager Jason Tindall made the assistant. The Sheffield United board are said to reportedly in discussions to shake-up the staff at the club and hire a director of football, as Manchester United did recently.
The interim manager previously served as the U23’s manager, meaning his knowledge of players in the academy can help revitalise the team, next season in the Championship. Heckingbottom enjoyed a successful period at hometown club, Barnsley, winning promotion to the Championship. Leeds United then poached the Barnsley man. However, a rocky spell meant Heckingbottom received the boot within four months.
Heckingbottom’s first game as caretaker manager resulted in a 5-0 defeat at the hands of Leicester City, the club’s biggest league defeat since April 2000. The Blades are in complete disarray after Chris Wilder’s steady five-year tenure ended abruptly. Therefore, Sheffield United will be best recruiting a long-term replacement outside of the club, at the end of the season.
Eddie Howe, a highly rated free agent manager is yet to return to management. Howe’s eight-year spell at Bournemouth came to its natural conclusion last season, with the club returning to the Championship.
At 43, Howe is still a young manager, yet has a wealth of experience to go with it. Howe went on a similar journey with Bournemouth, as Wilder did with Sheffield United, overseeing his club from the lower leagues to the Premier League.
Therefore, not only does the former Bournemouth manager have experience across various leagues. Howe can relate to the vulnerable situation Sheffield United are in, making him the best man for the job.
Due to Howe’s reputation, he will imaginably be in high demand with most notably, Celtic who are without a manager after Neil Lennon’s recent departure. Although Howe will likely stay in England, Sheffield United will have to act fairly quickly if they are to secure the former Cherries manager.
One of the biggest names in English football yet doesn’t quite have the management experience to go with it. Frank Lampard’s high profile managerial career started at Derby County. Even though the Rams lost 2-1 to Aston Villa in the playoff final, Chelsea came knocking.
Although a surprise top-four finish and an FA Cup final in his first season, Lampard’s time at Chelsea soon came to an end.
While, Lampard doesn’t have the same level of experience, as Eddie Howe. Lampard’s season at Derby and 18-month spell at Chelsea can’t be judged too heavily. If Sheffield United hire Lampard, it will be with the acknowledgement that he needs time, something Chelsea didn’t permit.
Heckingbottom, Howe and Lampard all provide Sheffield United with different options. The current interim manager and coaching staff will provide the owners with a similar style to Wilder. Whereas, Howe and Lampard will bring fresh insight, both with varying levels of Premier League experience. Whoever, Sheffield United decide to appoint, it will be with the long-term ambition of returning to the Premier League sustainably.
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