Blades: Wilson looking to the Long term

Npower League Division One ''Sheffield United vs MK Dons ''Utd's Keeper George Long on his full blades debut
Npower League Division One ''Sheffield United vs MK Dons ''Utd's Keeper George Long on his full blades debut

Danny Wilson is draping a proverbial arm around the broad but tender shoulders of George Long as he prepares to make another big goalkeeping call.

Nine days after dropping Steve Simonsen, Sheffield United’s manager has to decide whether to revert to experience or extend birthday boy Long’s steep learning curve at Stevenage this weekend.

Much will depend on the teenager’s state of mind - Long is 18 on Saturday - after the trauma of last week’s throwaway 4-4 home draw with Exeter.

But Wilson is giving the youngster every opportunity to face up to the challenge and, just as he refused to single out Simonsen for a series of errors, he is philosophical and understanding about Long’s situation.

“We have to make sure George is right for the game,” the Blades boss told the Telegraph.

“If he’s right for it, then fine.

“Obviously, as a young kid, his confidence will be dented by what happened last Saturday. So it’s a case of us putting our arms around him and making sure he’s not affected.

“George is very mature for his age, or he wouldn’t be playing, and he’s shown he’s able to deal with it.”

Equally possible is that under-fire Simonsen’s turn could come again sooner than expected.

There was no bad blood over his demotion with Wilson having refused to criticise him publicly - and part of the reason was to protect the team from bad vibes from the crowd during the 2-1 home win over MK Dons.

For the full story see this week’s Telegraph.