Sheffield United: Kieron Freeman’s Wales call-up can help inspire a new generation of internationals at Bramall Lane, manager Chris Wilder says

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder (centre)
Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder (centre)

Chris Wilder, the Sheffield United manager, has predicted Kieron Freeman's call-up by Wales will coax even greater levels of performance out of his squad.

But, admitting he was "not surprised" by Ryan Giggs' decision to include the defender in his plans for Tuesday's game against the Republic of Ireland, Wilder revealed how Freeman was quickly brought back down to earth after returning to Bramall Lane ahead of tomorrow's meeting with Derby County.

"Kieron knew, if he came back wearing pink boots, white boots or whatever, that they'd quickly get taken off him," Wilder laughed. "He knew they'd get wrestled away from him and put straight in the bin. Don't worry about that.

"Joking aside, it's good to get recognition and it doesn't do any harm for other people to know they are good players too. They'll get knew experiences.

"Now the lads know that the door is more open and if they want to get international exposure, they have to play well for us. Because if they don't, they won't. It's as simple as that."

Six members of Wilder's first team squad reported for duty with their respective countries during the international break. Others, including Scottish midfielder John Fleck, will be hoping United's impressive start to the season can help them follow Freeman's lead ahead of next month's Nations League ties.

Kieron Freeman is expected to feature against Derby County

Kieron Freeman is expected to feature against Derby County

"Chris Gunter has been excellent (for Wales) but Kieron is playing well," Wilder said. "When you are doing well, playing decent football, people will get recognition. 

"I don't know if Sheffield United has had so many players going away on international duty for quite some time. In my era, Hodgy (Glyn Hodges) was the only one with Wales really. 

"No disrespect, but Wales and Northern Ireland, the home nations; our group is built around that. And they look at the top end of the Championship."