A positive day at Sheffield United has seen the club restructure its Academy set up and bring in former England under-21s manager, Aidy Boothroyd, to assist Derek Geary and new 23s manager, Michael Collins.
Collins got himself off to a winning start today as boss as the 23s won 3-2. Interestingly, Rhian Brewster got himself on the scoresheet in a positive sign for Paul Heckingbottom. The appointment of Geary to Academy Manager is a smart decision many Blades had hoped would happen, too.
But of the three new appointments, it is the decision to bring in Aidy Boothroyd which has caught the eye most. The former Watford and Coventry boss has been brought in as a coaching mentor and consultant. On paper, given his work with the England youth set-up, it seems a smart move by United.
However, could Boothroyd also help Sheffield United lang a long-term target in Reading midfielder, John Swift? Well, given their past, it might just give the Blades an edge if they did fancy Swift again.
John Swift A Wanted Man But Boothroyd Sheffield United’s Ace
Obviously, we are well aware that any sort of big spending at Bramall Lane in the next few windows is wishful thinking.
New players will need to be carefully picked. A focus is now on youth, with Paul Heckingbottom tasked with overseeing a different approach as part of United’s new ‘strategic plan’. But, with Boothroyd onboard, Heckingbottom might be tempted to try another push for Reading star Swift.
He is out of contract in the summer. This makes him a viable January option for clubs. Indeed, Leeds, Burnley, and Wolves have all been credited with making a move this month. The Blades’ interest in Swift is well known. It goes back to when Chris Wilder was in charge, but Reading – at the time – reportedly wanted around £7m. As we know, there’s little chance of them getting that now.
So where could Boothroyd come in? Well, for a start, he was the England under-20s manager who gave Swift, then of Chelsea, his debut at that level. Following on from there, Boothroyd continued to select Swift when was in charge of the England under-21s, handing him eight appearances for the Young Lions.
Now, obviously, Boothroyd will have worked with a lot players in that time. But players always remember their international bosses, especially one who gave them a chance initially. Swift has been outstanding this season, with eight goals and nine assists from just 22 games.
But with his contract running down, no sign of a new one, and Sheffield United apparently keen on a new midfielder, having Aidy Boothroyd onboard might just put the Blades back in the running for the Reading talisman.