Ben Whiteman, the Sheffield United midfielder, has been told to use his loan spell with Mansfield Town as a springboard into Chris Wilder’s starting 11 next term.
Whiteman, a Steelphalt Academy graduate, joined the League Two club until the end of the campaign last month and has been informed Bramall Lane’s coaching staff will be closely monitoring his progress.
“Ben is a young player and it’s time for him to gain some league experience,” Blades manager Wilder said.
“Hopefully he’ll do well.”
United’s youth system is regarded as the finest in the region by most independent observers.
But, given the uneven distribution of football’s finances and the inherent unfairness of the Elite Player Performance Plan, achieving promotion rather than blooding home-grown talent is Wilder’s priority this season.
The likes of Whiteman (pictured) and Louis Reed have found it difficult to establish themselves in the manager’s first-choice side of late.
Nevertheless, United remain committed to developing players, with David Brooks appearing in four of their six cup games since August and Regan Slater recently agreeing a professional contract.
“It’s something we are very proud of and take seriously,” Wilder said.