SHEFFIELD UNITED: Blades hope to strengthen links with India

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SHEFFIELD United will look to cement their links with the Tata Football Academy, one of India’s leading development programmes, after declaring its fact finding visit to South Yorkshire a resounding success.

Members of the TFA, including players and coaching staff, spent three weeks at Shirecliffe earlier this month as part of a relationship designed to accelerate the progress of young talent on the sub-continent.

“The TFA boys and the coaches were a credit to their academy and indeed to football in India,” Dave McCarthy, United’s managing director, said. “Sheffield United staff all worked extremely hard to make this not only a trip to remember for the lads and the Indian coaches, but also one in which they could learn as much as possible that they can work on back home as we develop this unique relationship even further.”

As well as playing fixtures against teams such as Sheffield FC and Hallam, the TFA travelling party also enjoyed sessions with United’s under-18’s squad and watched Danny Wilson’s side in League One action.

Lee Walshaw, the former Bramall Lane midfielder, visits the TFA’s base in Jamshedpur on a regular basis and said: “The feedback from the Sheffield United coaches involved was very favourable and I think they were quite surprised at the standard of the boys.”

Meanwhile, former United favourite Nick Montgomery made his first appearance for Central Coast Mariners during their 1-0 friendly success over Brisbane Roar three days ago.

Montgomery, who officially joined the A-League side last week, replaced Adriano Pellegrino with 21 minutes of the match at Stockland Stadium remaining.

Mariners begin their domestic campaign at Western Sydney Wanderers next month before hosting Perth Glory on October 14.