Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder thanks 'pal' Sean Dyche for picking up the phone

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder expressed his gratitude to Burnley boss Sean Dyche for lending an ear when needed.


The 52-year-old, who has achieved two promotions in three seasons with the Blades, revealed that Dyche was always available to take a call to chew the fat.

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder on the touchline at the London Stadium

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder on the touchline at the London Stadium

The pair go back a long way; it was just over 23 years ago when they were on opposite sides as Notts County and Chesterfield played out a goalless draw at Meadow Lane in the old Division Two.

Wilder also took charge of 126 games in Dyche's neck of the woods, helping Northampton Town to the League Two title in 2016 prior to his return 'home' to Bramall Lane.

"I played against Sean a few times and he's a Northamptonshire boy, his lad was in the academy there," said the Blades boss.

"It doesn't bother me that he's younger than me, he's had more success than me and he's been through the process.

"There are quite a few managers I would pick the phone up to and he is definitely one of them.

"It is an individual sport, but there is that feeling in the professional game that if anyone will help you out, they will do. I'm grateful to him for picking up the phone, with the success he's had."

He added: "I've not really talked to Sean tactically. Everything I've talked about has been non-football if you like, other things that surround the Premier League. Possibly in the Championship too.

"There were personal situations and things like that. I would think Sean has people he speaks to as well, that we have a little bit of a collective.

"There are certain ones, which I won't name, that I wouldn't ring. But we're all after the same thing for our clubs and that's three points.

"The battle takes place on the pitch. That's why I can be pals with Sean. But for that period during the game, we're after the points."

Wilder, who made more than 100 appearances for the South Yorkshire side during his playing days, is a huge admirer of the work his opposite number has done during his seven years at Turf Moor, which is why he's keen to tap in to his psyche.

According to the Stocksbridge-born coach, Burnley are the benchmark for United having played five of their last six seasons in the top flight.

"Sean has been brilliant," he said. "Fantastic. I've known him a while. He's played in these parts and came across him as a player.

"I've followed his career and he got them into the Europa League. They are a benchmark for the likes of us. They produce year in and year out.

"I like his team. I like the way they work together. They have some great individuals. But they are a team. They play in a way that's effective.

"Sean doesn't get caught up in the hype that surrounds the Premier League, and there's a lot. I smile inside at times because I know what he's really thinking.

"This is as tough a game for us at home as we'll have. And I'm not just saying that to protect us."

Wilder spoke refreshingly about Burnley's style; slamming the lazy 'anti-football' narrative that has been undeservedly pinned on them.

The former right back shares many similar traits with Dyche - he's an untiring advocate of key core values in football - and he declared that Burnley should be applauded for the effectiveness of their methods.

He said: "Sean goes his way and I go my way. The one thing we both ask our teams to do is run around and compete. I'm not embarrassed to say that's what I want my teams to do.

"Being organised and being disciplined. I'm not embarrassed by that and I don't think I should be. I don't think Sean should be either."