Sheffield United have named Gary Speed as their new Manager following the departure of Kevin Blackwell at the weekend.

The former Welsh International has been part of the coaching squad at Bramall Lane since 2008 before a back injury curtailed his successful career, although he was a surprise name on the substitutes bench for the Blades for their midweek Carling Cup match.

He was the subject of an approach by Swansea City in the summer, as they seeked a replacement for Paulo Sousa but permission to speak to Speed was not granted.

The 40-year-old began his playing career with Leeds United, making his first team debut when he was just 19. He went on to make 300 appearances for the Elland Road club before moving to Everton for £3.5million.

He spent just two seasons at Everton before he was on the move again, this time to Newcastle United who paid £5.5 million for his services and he went on to make over 250 appearances in the heart of their midfield in a six-year period.

A four year spell at Bolton Wanderers followed before he joined Sheffield United in January 2008. A back injury suffered in November the same year proved to end Speed's career, despite working hard to return. His last appearance was during the 3-1 home defeat to Wolves on November 25th 2008.

Speed has agreed a three-year deal at Bramall Lane and speaking after the appointment he couldn't hide his delight, as he told www.sufc.co.uk: : "I'm delighted that my first managerial role is with the Blades, a club I know well - I've enjoyed my two and a half years here. I'd like to thank the Board for putting faith in me to take the club forward following on from Kevin Blackwell's hard work."

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