Heartache for Jean-François as United place their faith in youth

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Lecsinel Jean-François, the former Sheffield United left back, has revealed his disappointment after being released from Bramall Lane.

Jean-François, a former Haitian international, made just 25 appearances for United since joining in 2011 after suffering a succession of serious knee injuries.

The popular defender was one of five players formally released from United earlier this week.

Speaking on his Twitter account, 26-year-old Jean-François said: “This is the reality of football, being released while you are injured.

“There are a lot of messages to answer, but all I can say is a big thank you to all Blades fans for their support.

“I will be fine as long as I get good treatment for my knee, and their messages will give me that bit of motivation that I need.

“It is a hard time, but not the end - it’s just sad how my time at United has been ended by a bad injury.”

Jean-François’ injury troubles began when he damaged cruciate ligaments in his knee against Oldham last March.

He then returned as a substitute in United’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy win at Notts County in October, but damaged his other knee during his 15 minute appearance and never regained full fitness.

Dave Kitson, Matty Harriott and Danny Coyne will also search for new clubs after being told they will not be offered new terms at Bramall Lane.

Barry Robson, who completes the quintet of departing players, will formally complete his move to Scottish Premier League side Aberdeen when his United deal officially expires.

New United boss David Weir confirmed on Tuesday that Danny Higginbotham is one of eight players to have signed new contracts at Bramall Lane.

The 34-year-old defender activated a clause in the short-term contract he signed earlier this year, entitling him to an extension.

United, who are keen to blood a number of their talented crop of youngsters next season, also agreed contracts with seven young players - including four members of the young squad which reached the FA Youth Cup Final in 2011.

Callum McFadzean, Aaron Barry and Jordan Chapell have also agreed extensions to their current deals, as have fellow youngsters Terry Kennedy, Jahmal Smith, Elliott Whitehouse and Jordan Hodder.

“I’m happy to sign a new deal at United,” Kennedy said.

“Hopefully, I’ll be able to repay the club, both this season and in the future, for the faith they’ve shown in me.”

United begin their third successive League One campaign on August 3, when they entertain Notts County at Bramall Lane.

They travel to newly-promoted Bradford City later that month, on August 24, and then go to Rotherham United’s New York Stadium on September 7.

The home games against Bradford and Rotherham are on January 18 and March 8 respectively. United are also at home on Boxing Day, against Oldham, and on the last day of the season, when they face Coventry City on May 3.

Weir, meanwhile, is hoping to confirm his United backroom staff in the coming days.

The former Everton youth coach told the media in his first briefing that he was working to bring his own people in, but declined to reveal who his targets are.

Chris Morgan, who oversaw United’s doomed Play-Off campaign last season as manager, has reverted back to his coaching role.

David Unsworth, who assisted him, is understood to have been earmarked for a role, too, after rejecting an approach to manage Scottish side Kilmarnock.