|By PAUL BARBIERI
Central Coast coach Graham Arnold has labelled the culture at League 1 club Sheffield United as "prehistoric" and warned young Australians they may be jeopardising their careers by playing in England's lower divisions.
The championship-winning A-League coach has been linked away from the Mariners, with Arnold reportedly missing out on a move to Guangzhou R&F after the Chinese Super League club instead opted for Sven-Goran Eriksson.
He also interviewed for Sheffield United's vacant manager position, but said it was evident early in a the process with officials that the Blades were not the team for him.
"They just didn't seem interested when I was talking about playing a short passing game and taking the football another level up," Arnold told The Australian.
"It was about smashing the ball long and working on set pieces... it was prehistoric stuff.
"That's not the way to develop a football team."
Having seen Danny Wilson vacate the manager position at Bramall Lane in April as Sheffield United finished fifth in League One, Arnold became one of several applicants for the vacant managerial role.
''I had a video conference with three directors and [football director] Dave Bassett," Arnold told the FFA website.
"But I couldn't see myself progressing in that kind of environment.
"What it showed me is that our football here has advanced a lot further, and a lot quicker, than we tend to appreciate.
"I've been as guilty as anyone of underestimating our league. The whole experience has taught me something, that's for sure."
Arnold said the experience had increased his concerns for young players heading to the United Kingdom.
"After what I heard, there is no way I would ever recommend any young Australians to go over there to play in that sort of football," Arnold told the FFA website.
"They would be mad. It would be no good for their development.
"They would be far better off staying in the A-League where our football is really starting to come together and where they will learn much more than they would in the English lower leagues."
Although Arnold still holds ambitions to coach overseas, it appears Central Coast will be holding onto him a while longer after reports emerged former England manager Eriksson had beaten Arnold in a two-horse to become the next coach at Guangzhou R&F.
Eriksson has quit his position as technical director with United Arab Emirates club Al-Nasr and looks likely to be announced as Guangzhou R&F boss on Monday.
Guangzhou R&F dismissed former manager Sergio Farias after a less than impressive start to the current campaign.