David Brooks joined Sheffield United in the summer of 2014 after being released from the Manchester City academy.

Brooks flourished at Bramall Lane, eventually earning his big money move to Bournemouth and the Premier League in 2018.

A year later the Blades joined the midfielder in the top flight, but their policy of picking up talent from England’s biggest clubs has not changed.

Most recently Callum Gribbin signed following a successful trial. Gribbin left Manchester United’s youth system this summer.

It is a change of approach in the transfer market that manager Chris Wilder thinks is benefiting the club.

“We got David Brooks from Manchester City when he got released from there. So we are a safety net for maybe the top clubs,” Wilder told BBC Radio Sheffield.

“There’s two or three of our boys from Man United and Man City that are in our academy and trying to go again.

“There are different avenues and pathways for the young players to come through. Opportunities to kick-start their careers as a professional footballer.”

David Brooks is the blueprint for success

(Photo by Tom Purslow/Manchester United via Getty Images)

Whether Gribbin goes on to realise the potential he showed at Old Trafford remains to be seen. Yet Brooks has proven that it can be done.

The Wales international may not have broken through at Man City; but few do. However, being nominated for PFA Young Player of the Year in his first season in the top tier has to be considered a success for Brooks.

It is far from a rare occurrence in the Blades squad. Oliver Norwood is finally impressing in the Premier League at the age of 28. He was an academy product of the Red Devils.

Luke Freeman was released by Arsenal but is now in the top flight. John Lundstram is doing something similar having not made it at Everton.

Bramall Lane is quickly becoming an attractive prospect for those players who don’t quite make it at the very top and need a second chance.

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