Stefan Scougall is determined to repay new manager Chris Wilder for saving his Sheffield United career.
The former Scotland under-21 international was poised to leave Bramall Lane this summer after starting only seven games under Nigel Adkins last term.
But Wilder, who took charge when Adkins was sacked following a miserable League One campaign, has immediately earned Scougall’s respect by promising to grant him more opportunities next season.
“I was overlooked by Adkins and, towards the end, felt as if I wasn’t getting a chance,” Scougall told The Star. “The best thing was to move on and that was the last thing he said to me which was fair enough. I didn’t want to go but if you aren’t wanted by a manager then you need to. But the new man has come in and he said he’s going to give me a fair chance, that he thinks I’m a good player, so now I’ve got to go out there and prove it.”
Scougall admitted he was “falling out of love” with football before joining Fleetwood Town on loan in March. United’s divisional rivals wanted to sign the 23-year-old on a permanent basis but Wilder, who yesterday revealed talks with at least three transfer targets have reached an advanced stage, removed Scougall’s name from the transfer list after being appointed seven weeks ago.
“It’s up to me. I went to Fleetwood and had something to prove,” Scougall said. “I put in a few good performances and proved, I think, that I can still play in this league. I don’t think the new guy is the type of person to b******t. He’s said what he wants from me and so I have to deliver.”
“Before Adkins was sacked, there was dialogue between the two clubs,” Scougall added. “They were obviously trying to do something. But the manager has said he wants to keep me and, in fairness, I’d rather be at Sheffield United. It’s the biggest team in League One and bigger than most in the division above so, really, it was a no-brainer.”
Scougall, a member of the United teams which reached the semi-finals of both the FA and Capital One Cups during Nigel Clough’s reign, was speaking as Wilder’s squad reported back for pre-season training yesterday.
“A good few months went by and I wasn’t getting a sniff,” he said. “It’s tough and you can fall out of love with things. It wasn’t until I went to Fleetwood that I started enjoying football again. It does affect you, yes. Because I thought I was doing well in training, I was working hard and still not getting in. But hopefully I can show I should be involved now.”