Sheffield United: Why ‘hungry’ Wilson won over Wilder

James Wilson admits he has a point to prove after joining Sheffield United. Pic Simon Bellis/Sportimage
James Wilson admits he has a point to prove after joining Sheffield United. Pic Simon Bellis/Sportimage

James Wilson admitted he “wants to prove a few points” after joining Sheffield United yesterday.

But Chris Wilder, who asked him to complete a 72 hour audition before processing the transfer, last night insisted one vitally important box has already been ticked.

Chris Wilder and his assistant Alan Knill watched Wilson in training before offering him a contract

Chris Wilder and his assistant Alan Knill watched Wilson in training before offering him a contract

“James has shown the desire to come here,” explained the United manager. “He could easily have gone ‘I’m not having that, I’ve played my games, I’ll go to someone who will take me now’ but that’s not what he did. I like the fact we’ve signed someone who is hungry to play for us. And, above all else, that’s exactly what we want.”

Wilson, previously of Oldham Athletic, agreed a two year contract after impressing Wilder with his performance during a behind-closed-doors friendly at United’s training complex last weekend. The centre-half acknowledged his career has not unfolded quite as expected since being capped by Wales in 2013. But, having chosen United ahead of Shrewsbury Town, Rochdale and Leyton Orient, is confident he can fulfil his potential at Bramall Lane.

“With a club like Sheffield United, there’s always a clear objective,” Wilson said. “We know what we want to do and what we are expected to do. The manager told me I have a point to prove and I completely agree with him. I’m not quite sure why I haven’t achieved everything I probably should have done yet. There’s always reasons. I felt like I did well at Oldham but that was a club that was struggling and so you don’t quite get the same plaudits which I completely understand. I had options, though, so I must have been doing something right.”

Wilson, who turned professional with Bristol City before heading to Boundary Park, played nearly 50 times for Athletic last season. Wilder believes his knowledge of the competition, combined with “an athleticism and mobility”, could prove invaluable next term.

James Wilson works-out with his new team mates at the EIS yesterday

James Wilson works-out with his new team mates at the EIS yesterday

“You don’t get international recognition if you not a good player. He knows what it takes to go to places which I won’t name but aren’t the most comfortable or fashionable. I spoke to people who have worked with him, who I trust implicitly, and who said there’s a player there.”

“James has been in with us for a week and we’ve had a good look at him,” Wilder added. “Our recruitment has to be right. I’m not just going to go out and get household names. I want players who will make us better with the way they play, their attitude and their desire. He will battle it out with the other centre-halves.

“James has gone under the radar a little bit but he’s one we can work with. I’m not going to just look at pools of players who are fashionable, fancy names. James is one we can get the best out of and he fits the way we want to play.”

Wilson, United’s third new signing of the Wilder-era, is excited by the prospect of joining Mark Duffy and Chris Hussey in their new-look squad.

Sheffield United players underwent boxing training as part of their pre-season preparations

Sheffield United players underwent boxing training as part of their pre-season preparations

“Anyone who gets the opportunity to come here would jump at the chance. Over the last few days I’ve seen the difference in the facilities and also the training. It’s different class. It was an easy decision to make.

“Bramall Lane is quality, the fans are quality too. It’s going to be different playing in front of 20,000 rather than four but I’m looking forward to it, definitely. How could you not?”