James Shield’s Sheffield United Column: I think I’ve discovered Chris Wilder’s secret cousin

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One is more likely to say ‘Aye Up’ than ‘Arriverderci’.

The other surely prefers risotto to Henderson’s Relish.

But, even though the idea seems implausible, there is much in common between Chris Wilder and Antonio Conte.

Despite, it must be said, the Sheffield United manager’s preference for Adidas on the touchline rather than Giorgio Armani.

Okay, so both operate in completely different stratospheres. Gaining promotion from League One, something Wilder’s team could achieve at Northampton Town tomorrow, is never likely to generate quite the same publicity as lifting the Serie A title, being awarded the Panchina d’Oro or leading Italy through Euro 2016.

Nevertheless, both Wilder and Conte are cut from exactly the same cloth. Two coaches working at opposite ends of the footballing spectrum but who, when you examine their methods closely, share exactly the same ideology.

Chris Wilder goes ballistic after John Fleck's goal: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Chris Wilder goes ballistic after John Fleck's goal: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Forget the preference for wing-backs; the similarities run much deeper than that. Wilder, as Kieron Freeman will testify, can transform also-rans into thoroughbreds. Meanwhile, down at Stamford Bridge, Conte’s first season at Chelsea has been notable for the way he has turned around perennial loanee Victor Moses’ career.

Touchline histrionics are another hallmark of these two men although the former Juventus midfielder, who like Wilder is proud of his working class background - “In my family, money wasn’t important because there wasn’t much around” - has yet to launch himself headfirst across the playing surface following a crucial goal. (Watch the celebrations which followed John Fleck’s strike against Coventry City earlier this week if you don’t know what I mean).

Perhaps the most obvious bond between Wilder and Conte, however, is the close relationship build with their players. Andrea Pirlo once described the latter as a “genius” following his exploits in Turin while Leonardo Bonucci labelled him ‘The Godfather”. Again, without wishing to try and compare their achievements in the game, visitors to United’s training complex know the overwhelming majority of their squad eat from Wilder’s hand. Organising impromptu celebrations after important victories, where folk are encouraged to sink a few beers, has helped improve the atmosphere at Bramall Lane. Conte might eschew the alcohol but does arrange regular midweek trips to restaurants.

Tactics are important but, as a Yorkshireman and an Apulian are busy proving, only when combined with team spirit do they deliver medals.

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte gestures on the touchline.

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte gestures on the touchline.