Chris Wilder will not force George Long to remain at Sheffield United if the goalkeeper asks to leave Bramall Lane.
But Wilder, who also described John Brayford’s departure on Friday evening as the “right thing” for the League One club, is set to reassure Long he still has a future in South Yorkshire despite signing Simon Moore before last weekend’s game against Millwall.
Wilder and Long are set to hold summit talks at United’s training complex on Monday morning after the 22-year-old was granted permission to miss the visit to The Den
“I’ve told him to come and see me on Monday,” Wilder told The Star. “We’ll have a chat man to man and face to face. We’ll see what he wants to do.
“If he doesn’t see his future here that’s okay. But I’m not looking to get him out. If he doesn’t see his future here, that’s fine. If he does then ‘get your head down and fight your way back in.’
“I want to see that response from any player. I want that response that if you’ve been left out, do everything to get back in. Like Matt Done, Kieron Freeman and others have showed.”
Aaron Ramsdale deputised for Long during United’s 2-1 defeat in London. Moore, previously of Cardiff City, impressed on his debut but was unable to prevent Steve Morison’s 89th minute penalty extending the visitors’ winless run.
“I just gave him the weekend off to get his head right,” Wilder continued. “I thought that was the best thing for him and the best thing for us.
“He’ll be disappointed because we’ve brought somebody in and he’ll have been disappointed that he’s been left out. But he has to recognise that what he’s produced hasn’t been good enough. That’s the top and bottom of it and we had to make that change.
“It’s the law of the jungle if you like and people have to accept that. We have to take the right decisions to get the right formula and the right team.”
“I thought our goalkeeper was excellent,” Wilder added. “I thought Kieron was excellent and I thought Scouggs (Stefan Scougall) made a difference after coming in too.”
Brayford, aged 28, cost United £1.5m when he arrived from City 19 months ago. Wilder’s predecessor Nigel Clough, who was responsible for orchestrating that deal, is now in charge of Burton Albion and recruited Brayford on a season long loan last week.
“John’s situation was that I thought it was the right thing for the football club,” Wilder said. “John never came to me and asked to leave, that’s on record. But I knew there was interest from Nigel who he’s played for before. It was a good deal for us financially and I thought Kieron coming in was excellent.”