Sheffield United: ‘Door isn’t shut on George Long at the Lane’ says Chris Wilder

George Long of Sheffield Utd

George Long of Sheffield Utd

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Blades boss Chris Wilder insists that the “door is not shut” on George Long’s Sheffield United career, despite admitting that the goalkeeper could leave Bramall Lane in January.

The 23-year-old signed a new deal at United in the summer but has made just five appearances this season, after losing his place to Simon Moore.

Teenager Aaron Ramsdale has since established himself as Moore’s deputy and Wilder admits Long could be allowed to leave when the transfer window reopens next month.

“We’re in a good position with three really good goalkeepers,” Wilder said.

“The window opens next month and there are inquiries now, calls from agents and managers to see who’s around and available.

“But it’s George’s decision; he wants to play football, so he has a decision to make.

“If someone comes in and he fancies it, and it’s right for us financially, something might happen. But he’s contracted here, no-one is forcing him out and the door isn’t completely shut for him here.

“But anytime someone wants to knock on my door and say ‘I need to get away’, and it’s right for us at the right time, we’ll try to make it happen.”

Ramsdale, the England U19 goalkeeper, attracted particular praise for his performance in Sunday’s FA Cup defeat at Bolton but is expected to revert to the bench this afternoon for the visit of Swindon Town.

“It’s a position we need to be strong in,” Wilder added.

“I’m delighted for Aaron - he’s got a good future ahead of him - but he’s getting taught in the right way.

“I know Darren Ward [United’s goalkeeper coach] really well and he works the goalkeepers very hard, physically and technically.

“Aaron will improve, Simon is doing great and George is in there as well.

“We’re in a strong position.”

United go into the Swindon game third in League One, two points behind second-placed Bolton and six behind leaders Scunthorpe United.

“Historically there will be an opportunity for teams to win five and six games and force their way in to the promotion places,” Wilder added.

“Those teams have got to show that consistency. The teams that are top are there for a reason. They’ve shown that consistency and won games. Our consistency came over that unbeaten run [of 15 games].

“We need to keep ourselves in the mix. There’s some good teams at the top of the league and I don’t see any of them slowing down so it’s important we keep that consistency level as well.”