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First Team News

The One And Only Issue 14: Sheffield United

17 January 2022

With his former side Sheffield United set to come to Deepdale, Ben Whiteman is the cover star and featured interview, with the midfielder talking all about his time at Bramall Lane.

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Also in the programme, Andrew Hughes answers fan questions, while Daniel Johnson, Sepp van den Berg and Tom Barkhuizen take part in our player features.

Supporters can order a copy to arrive to their home through our publishing partners Ignition Sports Media, while this issue will also be on sale around the ground for £3.50.

Please note, this is the same programme which was printed for the game's initial date on Boxing Day, so content within the issue will be outdated.

Read part of Ben's featured interview below:

Ben is now a well-established Championship footballer, and one of Preston North End’s most-featured players this season, but if it weren’t for the Blades, the 25-year-old may never have made his way to PNE.

As a teenager, he suffered the setback that so many young aspiring footballers endure – not getting the scholarship which they have worked so hard towards.

That was at Manchester United as a teenager and at that point he was left contemplating what was next.

A few trials here and there came, but nothing which felt right to the central midfielder, before John Pemberton and Sheffield United came calling.

Speaking of the move, Ben told The One And Only: “It was tough just on the basis that you’re 15/16 having to move away from home to a different city.

“It was just completely different to what I’d been used to. I like my home comforts so looking back now it was a huge change to my life, moving into someone else’s house in digs.

“I think I found that tough at the start, but it’s probably one of the best times I’ve had in terms of being with lads the same age as me, bonding and coming from similar backgrounds.

“Dominic Calvert-Lewin was a year younger than me, so was Aaron Ramsdale. Otis Khan who’s at Walsall was there as well.

“It was a talented group and I think the way Sheffield United did it was right. They got lads there who were released from the likes of Man United, Liverpool, Everton, and put them into the youth team there.

“I really enjoyed it, it was a big learning curve in terms of moving away and standing on my own two feet.”

Ben would go on to spend almost four years signed on as a professional at Bramall Lane, but a lot of his time there was spent away on loan.

While admitting he’ll always have a “soft spot” for the South Yorkshire club for the chance they gave him, he’s treating the game against them as he would any other.

Ben added: “I was obviously just a young lad so I wouldn’t say I was a big part of the team on the pitch, but off the pitch I got on with a lot of people there, but on the pitch I didn’t really contribute anything.

“At Doncaster and Mansfield I was playing most weeks so you really do feel a part of the team.

“When I made my debut for Sheffield United, it was kind of a bad time for the football club. It wasn’t in the best place, and then Chris [Wilder] came in after that and the rest is history.

“It’s just another team to me now. If I had been there for another few years and played X amount of games for them then I’d probably feel different.

“But they gave me my chance in football with my first professional deal so I do have a soft spot for them, but it’s just another team at the end of the day.”

You can read more from Ben in the full issue of the matchday programme.


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