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Neill loves Lane life

19 March 2013

Neill Collins says it is only when you play for Sheffield United that you understand the history and tradition of the club.

The influential defender believes the history of Bramall Lane, coupled with the reputation of the Academy gives the Blades a real identity throughout the country.

Citing the emergence of Harry Maguire and George Long in recent seasons, Collins says the production line United continually operate deserves plenty of recognition. The Scotsman said: "The youngsters currently trying to break in the first team should use what Harry (Maguire) and George (Long) have achieved as a real inspiration.

"The lads must follow their example in training, on the field and off it, because for two young lads themselves they are exemplary professionals. I am sure both lads will go on to play at a higher level, hopefully that will be with Sheffield United.

"Sheffield United has always had great young players, though. The fantastic thing about the youth setup here is that it doesn't just produce one player for the first team and live off it for years to come. The Academy constantly produces players that go on to play in the first team in comparison to other clubs. We have been successful with the philosophy and I am sure it will continue for years to come."

Speaking of his opinion of the club has changed since arriving in January 2011, Collins added: "I enjoy my football here so much, more than at any other club and that isn't just down to the players and management, everyone behind the scenes who contributes.

"Saturday apart, some of the away days this season have been magnificent, not just the results, although we have won a lot of matches, but seeing our supporters often outnumber the home fans.

"That is what makes you realise what it is like playing for such a huge club, with such a fantastic history and tradition. The Blades have a real identity. When you used to play against Sheffield United everyone hated them, Bramall Lane was such a tough place to play at, I only remember winning once with Wolves when they won the league.

"When you come to play for the Club you realise there is a siege mentality and the fans are so passionate. It is great playing in a city with such a fierce rivalry when you are firmly on one side of the fence.

"With people like Nick (Montgomery) and Chris (Morgan) as examples, you can see why players stay here for so long and have such a special relationship with the club. A lot of players would love the opportunity to come and play here and I am not surprised!"

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