Sheffield United: Chris Wilder reveals why he is not a dedicated follower of footballing fashion

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder
Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder

Several years ago, long before he was unveiled as Sheffield United manager, Chris Wilder made an impromptu address during a social event at Bramall Lane.

The subject was fashion, or tactical trends to be specific, and how it was threatening to drive imagination out of the modern game.

Stoke City visit Bramall Lane tomorrow

Stoke City visit Bramall Lane tomorrow

Wilder revisited the theme again before last weekend's meeting with Derby County, which saw his team slip to second in the Championship table. His words confirmed that on Tuesday, when they return to action against Stoke City, United will adopt the same approach they employed at Pride Park.

"Every training session now is a nicked one," Wilder said. "Every idea is a nicked one. Things become popular, you see lots of people trying to copy things, but at the end of the day you've got to have a vision yourself.

"Listen, we look and we try to learn from others. Of course that's what we do. But we also have a belief in how we want to play, what our style is and how we want the club to be perceived. That's our stamp and our way."

The 'United Way', since Wilder's appointment at least, involves an absolute commitment to attacking football. With their three centre-halves encouraged to charge forward, some critics have argued a more conservative strategy is required if his side, especially against the division's other leading clubs, is to fulfil its potential.

But Wilder, revealing his philosophy has partly been shaped by pragmatism, believes the potential rewards outweigh the risks.

"We have to go about it the way we do for reasons I can't control and plenty of reasons I can control," he said, referring to the competition's financial imbalance. "If you do it your way, in a manner that suits and makes you happy, then you don't have to keep making wholesale changes. But you do if you just want to keep following the crowd."