He’s the current LMA Manager of the Year, has gained promotion from every major league in England and is on the verge of guiding Sheffield United into Europe. That doesn’t make Chris Wilder immune from criticism though, especially from himself.

“I’m a little bit of a bull in a china shop,” he tells UCFB when asked to assess his qualities as a manager. “Sometimes I wish I took a step back and maybe thought about certain situations that I’ve had to deal with. I’ve got a heart on the sleeve approach, I’m very down to earth… I’m very realistic as well.”

A self-confessed worrier who lives on the edge and takes nothing for granted, Wilder is enjoying the journey that is the 2019/20 season. Revelling in their first season back in the top flight for 12 years, the Blades have continued their upward trajectory of the previous seasons under Wilder and were sitting 7th in the Premier League, two points behind 5th with one game in hand, when the season came to an abrupt halt.

“I think I’m quite sensitive to criticism,” he adds. “But that, in a way, keeps me on the edge which I’m not disappointed about. I’ve got that bit of fight in me still.”

That fight has seen Wilder manage in and escape from each league at top end of English football. After winning the National League (formerly Conference) play-offs with Oxford United and then the League Two title with Northampton, he topped League One in his first season at Brammall Lane in 2017, before sealing promotion to the top flight in 2019.

Wilder says: “I’m a bit selfish in where I want to go from a personal point of view, I’m very strong willed in that – I’m quite determined.” He goes on to add: “One of the things I do believe I am though, is a humble person and I’ve not changed.” 

Chris Wilder was talking to Mark Clemmit as part of the UCFB Insight Series.