Chris Wilder

Sheffield United

Sheffield United sign free agent Rodwell

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Sheffield United have signed free agent Jack Rodwell on an initial six-month contract.

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Rodwell, 28, has been training with the Blades over the last few weeks after not having a club since leaving Blackburn Rovers at the end of last season. He was previously linked with a move to AS Roma in Serie A but that fell through and he has now ended up at Bramall Lane until the end of the 2019-20 season.

The former Everton, Man City and Sunderland midfielder has been plagued by injuries during his career and especially after he joined City in 2012. He was then painted as the villain in Sunderland’s Netflix documentary and his reputation took a big hit from that.

However, Blades boss Chris Wilder isn’t concerned about that and he’s had plenty of success in the past when talking players on trial or signing them up to short-term deals.

“There is a lot of nonsense that has been talked about Jack. Maybe the spotlight shouldn’t be shone on Jack, maybe it should be shone on a CEO (chief executive) at the time. I’m not a lover of fly-on-the wall documentaries, they’re always looking for a villain,” Wilder said. “From my point of view that’s history. All the boxes that I needed to tick, and Jack needed to tick, he has done. I’ve sat down with him for quite a long time and spoke about his career going forward, it aligns with the club’s goals. He plays a number of positions and hopefully we can get him going.”

Rodwell, who can play across midfield and defense, is delighted to have been given another chance in the Premier League.

“I am so thankful for the opportunity,” Rodwell said. “It is up to me now to do the business and hopefully we can get some good wins on the board. The whole process of the last few weeks was about me looking at Sheffield United, them looking at me and we go from there. I’m sure in a few weeks coming up the manager will be talking to me about different roles and other things. The team are doing brilliant now so it is up to me to force my way into the squad and the starting eleven.”

Picking up some extra cover on a free transfer is a smart move from Sheffield United and adding an extra bit of competition will help the Blades keep their performance levels high.

Wilder’s side have been a revelation in their first season back in the Premier League but the newly-promoted side now face a pivotal month or so as plenty of teams beneath them have picked up big wins over the festive period and the entire PL table has concertinaed.

Wilder: Liverpool dominates by perfectly executing the basics

Photo by Daniel Chesterton/Offside/Offside via Getty Images
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Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder said Liverpool’s domination of his team was all about the basics.

The Reds beat the Blades 2-0 on Thursday, which Wilder reckons would’ve been much worse were it not for his goalkeeper Dean Henderson.

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“I think the scoreline flattered us.”

What impressed Wilder, however, was how Liverpool was committed to winning both the first and second balls, and a commitment to the little things.

From The Yorkshire Post:

“You could see why they are world and European champions and they look like they are going to be Premier League winners as well. People talk to me about academies and technical stuff and rotation, but the basic stuff they had to tonight – win headers, races and drop on second balls and run and play forward and back and defend as a team – they did it miles better than us.”

Sheffield United remains eighth in the Premier League with 29 points, seven back of fourth and nine clear of the Bottom Three.

He said similar things after the game.

Pep has Wilder’s back on VAR: ‘Every weekend is a big mess’

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It’s not news that Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder doesn’t like the Video Assistant Referee system.

Wilder was fuming after the referee was in the middle of a Sheffield United giveaway that led to Man City’s opening goal in Sunday’s 2-0 City win over the Blades at the Etihad Stadium.

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And Man City boss Pep Guardiola has his fellow Premier League manager’s back.

From the BBC:

“I said many times I have a huge list to talk about with the guys from VAR. Every weekend is a big mess. In other games today it was a big mess. It’s happened every week, so hopefully next season it can do better.”

Wilder was furious when Jonjo Shelvey was able to score despite a raised offside flag earlier this month, and the decision on Sunday was even tougher to take.

That said, it’s very much in the rules. The referee didn’t touch the ball, which would’ve led to the play blown dead. He was just in the way (see video atop page).

Wilder fumes after Sheffield United’s loss at Man City

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Chris Wilder was left fuming after Premier League new boys Sheffield United lost 2-0 at Manchester City.

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Huge controversy took center stage when Man City took the lead, as the Blades tried to play the ball into midfield but referee Chris Kavanagh was in the way and although the ball didn’t touch him, he caused a turnover. If the ball would have touched him that would have led to an automatic drop ball in Sheffield United’s favor. But it didn’t and play was waved on.

That led to Kevin De Bruyne setting up Sergio Aguero to slam home as the Blades were incredibly hard done by. Manager Chris Wilder was as diplomatic as he could have been after the game.

“I’ve been to see the referee and he has been honest about it. We make mistakes and I believe he made one too and I’m sure he did as well. It is a game-changer. It happened that quick and I thought he could have been helped by his colleagues a little bit,” Wilder said. “We talk about the new rule where if the referee touches ball then he has to blow up, so surely if he is in the vicinity and hinders us then he makes a sensible decision. If he made the sensible decision then I don’t think no-one in the ground would have said anything about it. Unfortunately that has gone against us.”

Would it have been sportsmanlike for Man City to allow Sheffield United to go down the other end and score a goal to make it 1-1? Probably. But it would have been over the top. This was just a case of the Blades being plain unlucky.

To add to their misery, Sheffield United also had a goal chalked out by VAR in the first half for an extremely marginal offside on Lys Mousset and Billy Sharp hit the inside of the post with a header in second half stoppage time.

It just wasn’t Sheffield United’s day.

“Yet again we had another goal disallowed by VAR, that’s about eight or nine over the weekend, this is not a situation helping the game and the small margins. But I will leave that for everyone else to talk about because I have said too much about it,” Wilder said.

The Blades sit in eighth place, six points off the top four and their unlucky defeat at Man City is their first away defeat of the campaign.

One of the stories of this season so far has been that the Blades are more than holding their own.

Wilder laments VAR goal: ‘I don’t know where the game is going’

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Referees these days need to get off Chris Wilder‘s lawn.

The Sheffield United manager, author of an incredible season so far, could not wrap his head around VAR allowing Newcastle United’s second goal of a 2-0 defeat of his Blades at Bramall Lane on Thursday.

[ RECAP: Blades 0-2 Newcastle ]

Jonjo Shelvey kept running onto an Andy Carroll flick despite the linesman’s flag going up, and Stuart Atwell let Shelvey play to the whistle in beating Dean Henderson 1v1.

VAR review showed Carroll onside when he headed the ball, and the goal stood. Wilder says that’s not how he was told VAR would work, and that soccer is ruined because of it.

“The game has changed. This game now is completely different to what I experienced as a 16-year-old lad as an apprentice. This game in a heartbeat has changed. I don’t know where it is going and it is sucking the life out of me and the supporters.”

You can understand his frustration, of course, but really it’s more of a listen Henderson shouldn’t forget. Play it to the whistle, then complain if it ends up in the goal.

Atwell is the referee and has the right to overrule his linesman if he thinks there’s been a mistake. In the light of day, Wilder will understand a bit more. Surely he’ll get a similar call in the future.

Above statement aside, credit Wilder for a well-reasoned approach to why he’s upset with the call (It definitely didn’t help that Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka stood on his head in denying several terrific Blades chances).

“I was told at the start of the season that the linesman would not put his flag up and let it go. He put his flag up and the referee was about to blow his whistle,” he said. “Everyone in the ground stopped. Jonjo Shelvey even nonchalantly went up and took an opportunity. His body language said to me he had seen the linesman had put the flag up and he was going to be offside.”

What do you think? Should Atwell have blown the whistle? We tend to think no, but this is a democracy.