Sheffield United to release player who has won two promotions to the Premier League with the Blades

The writing has been on the wall for a while in regards to Sheffield United being relegated back to the Championship. And the same can be said in regards to the retained list, as some players have barely featured at all since Chris Wilder has returned to the Blades.

One of those players is 33-year-old Oliver Norwood, per a report from The Star. The former Northern Ireland international is set to depart Bramall Lane this summer after spending a memorable six years at the club, in which he racked up 252 appearances and won two automatic promotions to the Premier League.

Chris Wilder first brought the midfielder to S2 back in 2018. Initially on a loan deal from Brighton, Norwood’s excellent performances in the first half of the 18/19 campaign saw the Blades make it a permanent move in the subsequent winter transfer window.

Oliver Norwood: An integral part in the Blades’ recent success

From there, his performances grew even further occupying a deep-lying playmaker role in United’s midfield. Norwood’s range of passing was excellent and he helped the Blades beat the press and unlock the opposition defence from various angles.

He would end his first campaign with the club scoring three goals and providing nine assists in United’s promotion-winning season. And he made sure to carry his excellent form and the team’s momentum into their first Premier League season under Wilder’s leadership.

In the past, much has been spoken about that system that Wilder and Alan Knill deployed in the successful spell from 2016-2020 – otherwise known as the overlapping centre-backs system. As good as that system was, for me that system would never have been successful in the Premier League if it wasn’t for the likes of Norwood, Chris Basham and of course Jack O’Connell.

While the wide centre-backs applied width and an overload down either flank, it was Norwood’s passing range and vision which allowed the Blades to shift the ball into a position to exploit the overload in that outstanding 19/20 Premier League season.

Unfortunately for the player and Sheffield United, these excellent performances could not be maintained and after finishing ninth, the Blades would suffer relegation from the Premier League in the following season.

Chris Wilder on making tough decisions at Sheffield United this summer

There will be several difficult decisions that Chris Wilder and the board will have to make this summer, and the United chief has made everyone aware that he has no issue with making “ruthless” decisions if he feels it is the right one.

Wilder stated, via The Star: “I don’t enjoy it because there are some real difficult decisions and when I was a young manager I had to tell 18-year-old players that they no longer had a career in professional football. So I’m not heartless… but I am ruthless in my approach to it. And it has to be right. There’s no sentiment involved in it.

“There’s no: ‘He’s done this and that for us in the past.’ These are really well-thought-out decisions that you don’t always get right. We understand that. But a lot of discussion and thought goes into it from me and the coaches, in terms of who’s going to be on the next journey and who will leave us with a shake of the hand and a thank you.”

Tags Contract Oli Norwood