Match of the Day pundit Martin Keown has added to the plaudits coming the way of potential Celtic managerial candidate Chris Wilder.
The former Sheffield United boss officially left his job with the Blades over the weekend. He departs with Utd rooted to the bottom of the Premier League and 14 points from safety. However, not before he managed to bag them a double promotion from League One up to the top flight.
Jamie Redknapp was quick to praise the outgoing manager on Sky Sports’ Super Sunday yesterday [13:45] when he said: “I find it really uncomfortable talking about it because he’s someone who did an amazing job. He’ll bounce back. If I was an owner right now and I’m thinking of a manager to play the right way and get the best out of players, Chris Wilder would be right on top of my list.”
Before the official announcement of his sacking, fansite Sheffield Utd News reported that Celtic were interested in the manager and this was causing a delay in confirmation of his departure from Yorkshire.
And speaking on MOTD 2 last night, Keown was the latest to talk up Wilder’s influence with his former club:
“A big loss”
“They’re in shellshock. Their Messiah. Their Alex Ferguson. When you think of what he’s done for that football club. He’s their leader and today they just didn’t look like they were really up for it. They looked like they were in mourning.
“He gave them hope – he would be out there facing the press conferences afterward, looking to the next game, getting everyone behind him. He gave the group some hope to look to the future about bouncing back up. As we’ve seen other managers do like Sean Dyche.
“So one wonders why they didn’t stick with him. One day we’ll find out but it’s a big loss to the football club.”
The pros and cons of Chris Wilder to Celtic; which comes out on top?
The debate over Wilder is certainly one that divided supporters. But if truth be told, many appear to be against the idea of the Englishman coming in than for it. That’s despite the three promotion successes he’s obtained in his managerial career to date.
The pros are obvious. He’s proven to be a winner with Utd and even manager to bag a ninth-placed finish last season. He appears to be able to maximise potential and can do so on a budget. In addition to that, he plays a system that suits the way Celtic fans like to see the game played with short, quick passing whilst using width to stretch his opponents.
The cons are also clear. Wilder’s name lacks star-power. At a time when Steven Gerrard appears to never be out the news over Ibrox way, Celtic need something similar. Something that will capture the imagination and put some of the spotlight and positive press on ourselves.
In addition to that, Wilder’s signings haven’t impressed many supporters. Splashing out £20million on Oli McBurnie is something he’ll forever be tainted with [BBC]. He also recruited Oli Burke to try and keep Sheffield Utd in the division.
But for every McBurnie there’s a George Baldock. For every Burke there’s a John Egan. Wilder has managed just as many good signings as he has poor ones. And that’s whilst working on extremely limited financial constraints.
Yet, with the prospect of working alongside a Director of Football reportedly being a key reason for his departure [talkSPORT], that could be the final nail in the coffin.