Sheffield Utd to restart EPL in global spotlight

LONDON • Sheffield United coach Chris Wilder knows the eyes of the world will be on his side as they relaunch the Premier League against Aston Villa tomorrow.

The high-flying Blades travel to Villa Park for the first game in the English top-flight after a three-month suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Later on the same day, Manchester City will host Arsenal, with 92 games packed into just five-and-a-half weeks.

“First game back is going to be a little bit different, what we understand is the magnitude of the game, the coverage of the game,” Wilder said at his pre-match video press conference yesterday.

He added: “Villa-Sheffield United was a Championship game last year and would possibly have been seventh or eighth on (BBC’s) Match of The Day, and now it is 6pm on the television and worldwide coverage.

“From our point of view, we want to put on a good show and make sure we play well. Players will naturally want to play well and we want to do that as a football club.”

Sheffield United, who have 10 games to play, are seventh in the table, chasing Champions League football.

They could move up to fifth place with three points at Villa Park, but Wilder will not allow himself to get distracted by talk of Europe.

“If it gets to the situation where we are one or two games out and we are still in a fantastic position, then we will possibly talk about that,” said Wilder.

“But at the moment, we have (a) quarter of a season to go, near enough. I am sure that you have seen the fixture list as such as I have seen it, there are some incredible challenges in front of us.”

Wilder confirmed the club would extend highly-rated goalkeeper Dean Henderson’s loan deal in the next few days.

The England Under-21 international keeper is close to agreeing an extension from Manchester United until the current season ends. — AFP