Last season, McAtee made five appearances for the Sky Blues’ first team, including a Champions League round of 16 tie against Sporting Lisbon, and this summer he signed a season-long loan deal with Sheffield United.


The 20-year-old midfielder has featured in 12 league games for the Blades this season, but seven of them have come from the bench and he has yet to play a full 90 minutes for Heckingbottom.



Sheffield United boss Heckingbottom pointed out that the off-the-ball movements and combative nature of the Championship are different from what McAtee has previously experienced at Manchester City and believes that the player will need to improve in those areas of his game.


Heckingbottom stated that McAtee knows that he has to be more effective off the ball or he will not be playing regularly for the Blades.



“We have used him as a midfielder in a midfield three and things off the ball, the combative nature of this league is where it is totally different to the position when he’s played it before for Man City and the way they play it and also the football he has been playing in”, Heckingbottom told Yorkshire Live.


“So that’s what he has to do if he wants to be that midfielder, the other one is to dislodge one of the front players. They’re his targets.



“A big part of what Macca wanted, the people around him wanted was that he has always been told he needs to be better without the ball at certain things.


“But no one has ever pushed him on it, he’s always played.


“So how can that be given that value and importance here?


“He knows if he is not doing it he can’t play, he’s not going to perform to the level.


“It’s a big learning opportunity for him this season, a really big one.”


Sheffield United will take on West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, and McAtee will be eyeing his sixth league start under Heckingbottom this season.