Blades fans’ column: A settled XI is a good start at least for Sheffield United under Chris Wilder

Chris Wilder manager of Sheffield Utd
Chris Wilder manager of Sheffield Utd

On the bus from Bolton town centre to the ground we were discussing what Chris Wilder’s first starting XI would be.

‘It’s obvious,’ I said, before reeling it off from one to 11 (or whatever their actual numbers were), plus five of the seven subs.

For the record, the ones I got wrong were Adams (who was on his way out) and Wallace (I went for Calvert-Lewin and Freeman on the bench).

This isn’t to say that I’m some sort of Mystic Meg, but a simple perusal of the evolving line-ups of the pre-season matches gave it away.

At least that’s one thing Wilder has on his predecessor – the new boss settled on his best eleven early, in contrast to Nigel Adkins, who chopped and changed in the hope of randomly landing on a decent team, and continued to follow that course of action for the the entire season.

I don’t think Wilder will be doing that, only tweaking here and there as the situation demands.

But that first-choice eleven didn’t do the business at Bolton. It wasn’t awful (as it was at Gillingham a year ago), but neither was it great.

United were slightly the better of two unimpressive teams, but I didn‘t see anything that indicated that either side will be in the top two at the end of the season.

Of course there’s a long way to go, but I don’t believe in that guff that says it takes time for a lot of new players to gel.

They’re professional footballers, accustomed to playing alongside a lot of different players throughout a season and throughout their careers.

That comes with the job.

There isn’t time to give them time to ‘gel’ - they need to do it now. But I’m far more confident that Wilder can knock them into shape than I ever was with Adkins.