sport news Chris Wilder isn't old school - he's the most forward thinking manager in the ...

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() Calling Sheffield United's Chris Wilder an 'old-school manager' is wrong. I've heard him tarred with that brush a few times, and I find it disrespectful to him and his team.

The truth is Wilder is so far ahead with what he is doing, he is actually the most forward-thinking manager we have in the Premier League.

He is doing something completely different, something we have not seen before. Hands up if you thought this idea of overlapping centre backs would get found out in the top flight? 

Jamie Redknapp says Chris Wilder is the most forward thinking manager in the Premier League

Jamie Redknapp says Chris Wilder is the most forward thinking manager in the Premier League

Wilder instructs his centre backs to overlap and it's caught teams out so far this season

Wilder instructs his centre backs to overlap and it's caught teams out so far this season

Sheffield United's progressive tactics helped them to earn a deserved point away at Chelsea

Sheffield United's progressive tactics helped them to earn a deserved point away at Chelsea

Wilder himself knows there were doubters, but it has worked wonders so far. They have continued to overload the flanks, and only Liverpool and Tottenham have produced more crosses than his side. Most importantly, they are picking up points in the process of all this.

Saturday was an outstanding result for Wilder, coming back from 2-0 down at half-time to draw 2-2 with Chelsea. He wants his team to feel like they belong at this level.

They weren't at Stamford Bridge because they are still a lower-league side, only there to play in the third round of the FA Cup and enjoy a day out. They were there as a Premier League club in their own right. They were there to compete and they certainly played like that in the second half, no doubt after some stern words from Wilder at the interval.

As the graphic above shows, his centre backs spent the first 45 minutes sitting deep. Chris Basham (6) and Jack O'Connell (5) were not pushing forward as much as they normally do. In the second half, though, that changed. Their average positions for the next 45 minutes shows the centre-back duo close to the halfway line.

So Wilder may have had to get the hairdryer out at half-time, but that does not make him an 'old school manager'. Nor does the fact he is English, or because at 51 he is older than some of his Premier League peers, or because he tells his players to play with a bit of elbow grease.

I prefer to judge a coach on his tactics. When it comes to that, Wilder is up there with the very best.

Sheffield United's centre backs played further forward in the second half against Chelsea

Sheffield United's centre backs played further forward in the second half against Chelsea

What Pep Guardiola does is amazing. The way he has his Manchester City players pass the ball, the way he uses his full backs. Jurgen Klopp is a wonderful tactician, too.

Wilder is not blessed with brilliant players, and he did not spend a fortune in the market. Yet he has stood by the tactics that secured them promotion in the first place, and they now have five points from their first four Premier League games.

They may find themselves on the

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