Adrian Durham sends a congratulatory message to Billy Sharp after Sheffield United draw with Bournemouth

10 Aug

Adrian Durham has sent a message to Billy Sharp after the Sheffield United skipper grabbed his first ever Premier League goal.

Prior to the season, the talkSPORT host question how the Blades would fare in the top flight after securing promotion from the Championship.

Billy Sharp celebrates scoring against Bournemouth
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In particular, Durham singled out striker Sharp, labelling him League One standard and insisting relegation beckoned for the Blades.

Although he did apologise with a poem to the 33-year-old, Sharp appeared to have taken the criticism to heart.

Speaking after the 1-1 draw with Bournemouth, he told talkSPORT: “I don’t really care what they think. He’s never kicked a ball in the Premier League.

“That’s one more goal I’ve got than him and he’ll never get that back off me. He can say what he likes.”

The 33-year-old has now scored in all four divisions of English football
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But the Drivetime host swallowed his pride and took to Twitter to send a congratulatory message to Sharp.

He wrote: “I’d already admitted I was wrong about Billy Sharp, but delighted he proved me wrong in front of my eyes today, it was always going to happen of course.

“Celebrations were fantastic, I was dreading VAR taking that moment away, thankfully no minor meaningless nonsense was spotted.”

‘He’ll never get that back off me’ – Billy Sharp hits back at critics with first ever goal in Premier League as Sheffield United earn late point against Bournemouth

10 Aug

Billy Sharp gave the perfect response to his critics by coming off the bench to rescue a point for Sheffield United on Saturday.

talkSPORT host Adrian Durham was scathing about Sharp in the run up to their first Premier League game and tipped the Blades for relegation.

Billy Sharp celebrates scoring against Bournemouth
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Sheffield United are going down”, Durham said. “They’re not even taking the Premier League seriously.

“They’re still bigging up Billy Sharp, and as much as I love Billy Sharp; great record, absolute legend, local boy came good, third spell at the club, but he is League One.

“He’s not good enough for the Premier League and with the greatest of respect, it’s all sentimental bull that Sheffield United are hoping will take them through to 17th in the Premier League.”

Durham did later apologise to the 33-year-old with a poem about the striker.

Sharp has been prolific in the lower leagues of English football without ever really getting the chance in the top flight. He made two appearances for Southampton in 2012 before being sent out on loan to the Championship.

Billy Sharp scored his first Premier League goal
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He seized his opportunity at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday, though, as he scored late on against Bournemouth to secure a 1-1 draw.

That goal now means he has scored in all four tiers of the Football League.

When asked about the criticism, he told talkSPORT: “I don’t really care what they think. He’s never kicked a ball in the Premier League. That’s one more goal I’ve got than him and he’ll never get that back off me. He can say what he likes.”

Sharp was pleased with the overall performance from Sheffield United and praised the character they showed to come back from behind.

“I thought we created chances. They were obviously good on the counter and I thought we showed real character when we went 1-0 down late in the game. We could quite easily have felt sorry for ourselves.

“We stuck at it, the gaffer made bold changes and left three strikers on the pitch and I was the lucky one today who stuck the ball in the net to get us a point.”

Saturday is GameDay on talkSPORT and talkSPORT 2 as we become your go to destination for all the Premier League action. We’ll bring you LIVE commentary of Premier League games across all three time slots on Saturday – 12.30pm, 3pm and 5.30pm – delivering award-winning coverage to more GameDay listeners than ever.

Premier League fantasy football tips: Ten hidden gems with low ownership to sign for your Dream Team XI

6 Aug

The Premier League is almost back and with it comes the return of Dream Team and you can still sign up here!

Only three days remain to get your team sorted for the new campaign, before the deadline strikes on Friday night.

Sign up to Dream Team now

It can be a stressful time, but fear not, because here at, we’ve done all the work for you.

Obviously, your team will contain the likes of Harry Kane and Mohamed Salah, but everyone picks those guys.

Mini-leagues are won and lost on differentials, the hidden gems with low ownership who bag a load of points.

So, without further ado, here they are…


Check out all the live commentaries coming up across the talkSPORT network this week

  • Portsmouth vs Birmingham (Tuesday, 7:45pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • West Ham vs Manchester City (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT
  • Leeds vs Nottingham Forest (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Crystal Palace vs Everton (Saturday, 3pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Tottenham vs Aston Villa (Saturday, 5:30pm) – talkSPORT

Josh King (Bournemouth) – Selected by 0.8 per cent

Penalty takers are your bread and butter this season, with the introduction of VAR.

And, somewhat surprisingly, Bournemouth’s man on spot-kicks is owned by just 0.8 per cent of players.

His record is pretty good, too. Last season, the Norwegian successfully converted five of his six penalties.

Plus, he remains prolific from open play, netting 12 times in total last term.

He can be yours for just £3m.

Josh King could easily reach double figures this season
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Wesley (Aston Villa) – Selected by 0.9 per cent

Take a dive into the unknown with Villa, who could be a real force this season.

Club-record signing Wesley headlines a list of 12 new arrivals at Villa Park, with more than £130m spent.

He is certain to lead the line following Tammy Abraham’s return to Chelsea, and we expect him to be prolific.

The 22-year-old grabbed 13 goals and seven assists for Club Brugge in the Belgian Pro League last season, and crucially, he’s owned by less than 1 per cent of players and costs just £2.5m.

Wesley opened his Villa account during pre-season
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Billy Sharp (Sheffield United) – Selected by 0.6 per cent

Mr Sheffield United just loves scoring goals.

He averages more than a goal every two games for the Blades and, you guessed it, he takes their penalties!

Only 0.6 per cent of players have taken a punt on the 33-year-old, which is probably a reflection on Sheffield United’s hopes for the new campaign.

But at £2m, he’s sure to bag you some points.

Billy Sharp was central to the Blades promotion-winning campaign last season
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Max Aarons (Norwich) – Selected by 0.9 per cent

The youngster is this season’s Matt Doherty. You heard it here first.

Owned by less than 1% of players and priced at just £2m, the 19-year-old right-back is sure to get plenty of assists for a free-scoring Norwich side.

Aarons notched three goals and six assists from defence last season, earning him the Championship’s Young Player of the Year prize.

However, don’t expect too many clean sheets – Norwich conceded 57 goals on their way to the Championship title last term.

Max Aarons will be bombing down the wing all season
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Pascal Gross (Brighton) – Selected by 0.1 per cent

For some strange reason, the Seagulls playmaker fell off the grid last season.

Nonetheless, he could well be rejuvenated this year by the arrival of Neal Maupay at Brighton.

Not only does this boost his chance of assists, with a dynamic frontman to link up with, it also means Glenn Murray will probably lose his place in the team, leaving Gross on penalty duties.

The 28-year-old is also on corners, free-kicks, you name it – and literally no-one has him.

He’s owned by 0.1 per cent of players and costs just £2m.

Pascal Gross was a fantasy football favourite during the 2017/18 campaign
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Alexis Sanchez (Manchester United) – Selected by 0.7 per cent

I know what you’re thinking, but hear me out.

Imagine, just imagine, if Sanchez returned to form and you were one of the 0.7 per cent of managers who picked him for just £2m?

The forgotten man at Manchester United scored twice at the 2019 Copa America and looked to be regaining some confidence.

Its easy to forget Sanchez is quite good at football on his day
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Danny Ings (Southampton) – Selected by 0.5 per cent

It’s rather surprising that Danny Ings is owned by just 0.5 per cent of players.

He represents another cheap penalty taker, at £2m, and given Saints paid £20m to sign him permanently this summer, you would expect him to start.

Ings is deadly from 12 yards
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Emerson Palmieri (Chelsea) – Selected by 0.7%

This is an interesting one. We’ve fallen out of love with Marcos Alonso, who was once a fantasy football manager’s dream.

And it seems that Chelsea have, too. Following a dip in form under Maurizio Sarri last season, Alonso lost his place to Emerson at left-back.

So there’s every chance Emerson will retain his spot under Frank Lampard. It’s a punt, but you could have Chelsea’s first-choice left-back, owned by 0.7 per cent of players, for £2.5m.

Early signs in pre-season suggest Emerson could be first choice at left-back for Chelsea
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Troy Deeney (Watford) – Selected by 0.8 per cent

Nobody appears too keen on Watford this season, with none of their players selected by more than 1% of Dream Team managers.

But they’ve got a decent opening four fixtures, with none of the top six until the fifth gameweek, and Deeney is deadly from 12 yards.

With Gerard Deulofeu a potential doubt for the opener against Brighton, Deeney is almost certain to start as well.

He’s available for £3m.

Deeney’s Watford start the season with some favourable fixtures
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Mark Noble (West Ham) – Selected by 0.2 per cent

Probably the most rogue option on this list, given the fantasy football golden rule of staying away from defensive midfielders.

But, we can’t stress this enough: there’s going to be loads and loads of penalties next season because of VAR.

Noble, who costs £2m, relinquished penalty duties to Marko Arnautovic for a short while last season, but with the Austrian gone, the Hammers captain should be back on spot-kicks this season.

West Ham possess plenty of pace and trickery in attack, with the likes of Pablo Fornals, Manuel Lanzini and Felipe Anderson, all of whom are likely to fool defenders in the box.

Noble could see his fantasy football points soar with the introduction of VAR
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Saturday is GameDay on talkSPORT and talkSPORT 2 as we become your go to destination for all the Premier League action. We’ll bring you LIVE commentary of Premier League games across all three time slots on Saturday – 12.30pm, 3pm and 5.30pm – delivering award-winning coverage to more GameDay listeners than ever.

Adrian Durham tips Sheffield United to be relegated from the Premier League and insists captain Billy Sharp is not good enough

26 Jul

Adrian Durham has slammed Sheffield United for ‘not taking the Premier League seriously’ and tipped the Blades for automatic relegation.

Chris Wilder’s men secured promotion from the Championship last season, just two years after running away with the League One title.

Despite being backed by a Saudi billionaire, United are not a side who simply throw their money at players to attract new talent to Bramall Lane.

Adrian Durham believes the Blades are heading straight back to the Championship
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Conversely, Wilder has displayed his tactical nous on several occasions and made the best out of the players he has. The Blades defied footballing logic by playing in a 3-5-2 formation with overlapping centre-backs, while still maintaining a fantastic defensive record.

However, despite their fantastic achievements to reach the top flight, Durham believes a return to the second tier awaits United.

Sheffield United are going down, Durham said. “They’re not even taking the Premier League seriously.

“They’re still bigging up Billy Sharp, and as much as I love Billy Sharp; great record, absolute legend, local boy came good, third spell at the club, but he is League One.

“He’s not good enough for the Premier League and with the greatest of respect, it’s all sentimental bull that Sheffield United are hoping will take them through to 17th in the Premier League.

Billy Sharp scores against Chesterfield in pre-season
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  • Lys Mousset (Bournemouth) – £10m
  • Callum Robinson (Preston) – £7m
  • Luke Freeman (QPR) – £5M
  • Phil Jagielka (Everton) – Free
  • Ravel Morrison (Ostersunds) – Free
  • Dean Henderson (Manchester United) – Loan

“Now, it’s all well and good because they will enjoy the ride and all that, but when they end up being worse than Huddersfield that’s when you’ve got an issue.

“When you’ve got a team that’s not being competitive, all they’re doing is signing Championship players and saying ‘Isn’t this great, Billy Sharp is in the Premier League’.

“That’s not taking the Premier League seriously, they’re underestimating the jump from Championship to Premier League and I feel a bit uncomfortable about it.”

Every Premier League club’s last 20-goal striker – proof Paul Pogba is NOT Manchester United’s problem

12 Jul

Premier League record goalscorer Alan Shearer once famously remarked: “You never get fed up scoring goals.”

For a man who scored 260 times in the English top-flight, you would have been surprised to hear anything else.

The elation of scoring a goal is unmatched
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Finding someone to put the ball into the back of the net on a regular basis is an arduous and sometimes unforgiving task.

At Tottenham, fans were left grimacing on a weekly basis with Roberto Soldado before Harry Kane emerged from the shadows.

Across the Thames, rivals West Ham have been linked with seemingly every striker in Europe, but are still going into pre-season with Jordan Hugill and Javier Hernandez up front.

So when sides find a striker who can regularly hit the back of the net, that player quickly becomes one of the first names on the team sheet.

Spurs were forced to struggle with Soldado, before Kane took over the mantle
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All 20 Premier League clubs have had prolific strikers capable of finding the back of the net, but some more recently than others.

But when was the last time your club had a 20-goal a season striker?

For some sides, the answer is as recent as May. All three sides promoted from the Championship possessed lethal strikers last season, but questions remain about how they will cop in the top flight.

For others, you have to go back almost a decade to find the last player to hit the milestone in a single season. Scroll down to see the last player to score 20 goals in a season for your club.

Arsenal: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – 22 Premier League goals (2018/19)

Arsenal’s record signing averages 0.65 goals per game in the Premier League
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Sheffield United: Billy Sharp – 23 Championship goals (2018/19)

Blades fan Sharp showed a cutting edge in front of goal last season
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Liverpool: Sadio Mane. Mohamed Salah – 22 Premier League goals (2018/19)

Mane and Salah were lethal for Liverpool last season
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Manchester City: Sergio Aguero – 21 Premier League goals (2018/19)

Aguero is now City’s record goalscorer
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Aston Villa: Tammy Abraham – 25 Championship goals (2018/19)

The Chelsea striker has returned to Stamford Bridge after a loan spell
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Norwich City: Teemu Pukki – 29 Championship goals (2018/19)

Few could have predicted the free signing would be the Championship’s top scorer
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Leicester City: Jamie Vardy – 20 Premier League goals (2017/18)

Vardy hit top form before the World Cup in Russia last summer
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Tottenham Hotspur: Harry Kane – 30 Premier League goals (2017/18)

England captain Kane is one of the prolific strikers in world football
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Chelsea: Diego Costa – 20 Premier League goals (2016/17)

The Spaniard has been linked with a move to West Ham to potentially end their striker struggles
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Everton: Romelu Lukaku – 25 Premier League goals (2016/17)

Lukaku has struggled since leaving Goodison Park in 2017
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Newcastle United: Dwight Gayle – 23 Championship goals (2016/17)

Gayle’s goals secured automatic promotion for the Magpies
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Allardyce tells talkSPORT why he turned down Newcastle return

Burnley: Andre Gray – 23 Championship goals (2015/16)

Gray earned a club-record move to Watford for his goalscoring exploits at Turf Moor
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AFC Bournemouth: Callum Wilson – 20 Championship goals (2014/15)

Wilson has continued his goalscoring form from the Championship into the Premier League
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Watford: Troy Deeney – 21 Championship goals (2014/15)

Deeney is certain to go down as a Watford legend
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Crystal Palace: Glenn Murray – 30 Championship goals (2012/13)

Murray has scored goals at every level
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Manchester United: Robin van Persie – 26 Premier League goals (2012/13)

Van Persie is the last player to reach 20 goals for Manchester United
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Southampton: Rickie Lambert – 27 Championship goals (2011/12)

Lambert led the Saints back to the Premier League for the first time in seven years
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Brighton and Hove Albion: Glenn Murray – 22 League One goals (2010/11)

Murray’s goals get the Seagulls out of League One and on the way to the Premier League
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Wolverhampton Wanderers: Sylvan Ebanks-Blake – 25 Championship goals (2008/09)

Ebanks-Blake could not replicate his form in the Premier League for Mick McCarthy’s Wolves side
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West Ham United: Teddy Sheringham – 20 Championship goals (2004/05)

Just before his 40th birthday, Sheringham helped fire West Ham back to the Premier League
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Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder hits out at Leeds and Patrick Bamford, branding them ‘muppets’ after securing promotion

29 Apr

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder has blasted promotion rivals Leeds United, calling them ‘muppets’ while hailing his side following their return to the Premier League.

Wilder’s side beat Ipswich 2-0 on Saturday at Bramall Lane to secure promotion back to the top-flight for the first time since 2007, while Leeds drew 1-1 with Aston Villa at home the next day.

Chris Wilder branded rivals Leeds ‘muppets’

It ended Leeds’ chances of automatic promotion, becoming the first team in a decade to top the Championship on Christamas Day and not go up automatically.

“We’ve had one defeat in 13 and I’ve got muppets from Leeds talking about the pressure being on us,” Wilder told the Blades official YouTube channel, as his players popped the champagne to celebrate their achievement.

“[Patrick] Bamford and [Adam] Forshaw and a couple of others saying ‘it’s over to you’ and this, that and the other.

“They got beat seven times since Christmas. We’ve been beaten once. We’ve set it up from Christmas to be in the race and we’ve steamrolled it.

“After the international break, two points a game. That’s promotion form right the way through in the pressure part of the season.

“Listen, don’t mention anything about bottle and b******s or about us dipping out.”

Wilder, 51, a Sheffield United fan, took charge of the club in June 2016 has led the club to two promotions in three years, including winning League One with a 100 points in his first season.

The Blades could still finish as champions if they beat Stoke next weekend and leaders Norwich lose at Villa.

However, they had other things on their mind with Wilder and prolific striker Billy Sharp at the centre of the boozy sing-a-longs.

Wilder did, though, take another shot at Bamford after watching the striker got Anwar El Ghazi red carded at Elland Road in chaotic scenes that saw Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa order his players to allow Aston Villa to score a goal.

“Full respect for Marcelo Bielsa today. Not full respect to Patrick Bamford,” the Blades boss added.

Bamford is likely to be banned for his antics, with Alan Shearer calling the player a disgrace, while El Ghazi is expected to have his card rescinded.

PFA Championship Team of the Year: Leeds United and Norwich City have three players in XI while Chelsea loanee Tammy Abraham also included

24 Apr

Leeds United and Norwich City both had three players named in the PFA Championship Team of the Year.

Canaries striker Teemu Pukki had already picked up the Player of the Year crown and was named with team-mates Max Aarons and Jamal Lewis in the best XI, chosen by fellow players.

Teemu Pukki is the Championship’s top scorer

Pukki has scored 28 goals since joining on a free transfer from Brondby in the summer.

Norwich need just a point at home to Blackburn on Saturday to secure promotion back to the Premier League.

Leeds United’s centre-back duo of Pontus Jansson and Liam Cooper were named in the team along with Pablo Hernandez.

Pablo Hernandez has been in fine form for Leeds

Hernandez’s absence from the EFL’s Championship team of the year raised a few eyebrows at the time.

Marcelo Bielsa’s side are three points behind Sheffield United with two games to go and are relying on Chris Wilder’s side to slip up.

The Blades have two players in the XI – Oliver Norwood and Billy Sharp.

The PFA Championship team of the year

Norwood was on loan from Brighton before making the move permanently in January while Sharp has notched 23 league goals this season.

Chelsea loanee Tammy Abraham is also in the side after impressive performances for Aston Villa where he has scored 25 times.

Team-mate Jack Grealish is also included, despite missing three months of the season through injury.


talkSPORT is your home of live football! Here's what's coming up on talkSPORT and talkSPORT 2...

  • Sheffield United vs Ipswich (Saturday, 5:15pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Brighton vs Newcastle (Saturday, 5:30pm) – talkSPORT
  • Norwich vs Blackburn (Saturday, 7:30pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Leeds United vs Aston Villa (Sunday, 12pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Coventry vs Shrewsbury (Sunday, 3pm) – talkSPORT 2

Villa have won 10 straight games to all but secure themselves a play-off spot.

The team is completed by Middlesbrough goalkeeper Darren Randolph where he has helped his side to the joint best defensive record in the league.

One notable absentee is Birmingham City striker Che Adams, who was on the shortlist for player of the season.

The players will be honoured at the PFA’s annual awards ceremony in London on Sunday, April 28.

PFA Championship Team of the Year 2019: Darren Randolph (Middlesbrough), Max Aarons (Norwich), Liam Cooper (Leeds), Pontus Jansson (Leeds), Jamal Lewis (Norwich), Jack Grealish (Aston Villa), Oliver Norwood (Sheffield United), Pablo Hernandez (Leeds), Billy Sharp (Sheffield United), Tammy Abraham (Aston Villa), Teemu Pukki (Norwich).

Billy Sharp: Inspirational Sheffield United skipper deserves a proper crack at the Premier League

10 Apr

He is the most prolific English league striker of his generation. He is the comeback king. His name is Billy Sharp.

Scoring 227 league goals since the year 2000 is a pretty remarkable achievement – that is before any mitigating factors come into the equation.

Billy Sharp has been the driving force behind Sheffield United’s Championship promotion bid

Sharp’s story has been one hell of a rollercoaster with more than a fair share of adversities along the way.

None more so than the tragic loss of his son, Luey Jacob, back in October 2011.

He was just two days old when he tragically died of gastroschisis.

Many would have understandably taken the necessary time out to get their head straight – not Sharp.

Three days later and he was captaining his side at that time, Doncaster, in a Championship clash at home to Middlesbrough.

He opened the scoring with a 14th-minute wonder goal, which he celebrated by lifting up his strip to reveal a T-shirt bearing the slogan ‘That’s for you, son’.


The club icon, pictured celebrating promotion to the third tier with supporters two years ago, has been in devastating form this season

Despite eventually falling to a 3-1 defeat, Sharp labelled the goal ‘the most important of his career’, as the striker gained huge plaudits and respect for his show of incredible strength.

Now 33, you’d be thinking Sharp – the modern day ‘fox in the box’ – would be showing signs of slowing up. Think again.

He has already scored an incredible 24 goals in 38 appearances for Chris Wilder’s promotion chasers this season – including a superb hat-trick at Aston Villa back in February.

Not bad for a ‘fat lad from Sheffield’ – the words etched across a shirt he unveiled during a game back in 2010.

Sharp, 33, has found the net 24 times in just 38 appearances this season – including a hat-trick at Aston Villa

Sharp has regrets. Speaking after becoming the joint-highest scoring Englishman this century following a brace against Blackburn in December, he said: “If I could have played here all my career then I would have done.

“I’d have loved to have done that.

“I had to go away a couple of times to benefit myself but I feel as if I’ve come back at exactly the right time.

“I feel as fit and as strong as ever. I feel I can keep going for sometime yet.”

And who could argue with that?



Rickie Lambert – 219

Wayne Rooney – 208

Jermain Defoe – 191

Frank Lampard – 158

Sergio Aguero – 157

Harry Kane – 126

It’s not just at Bramall Lane where Sharp has made his mark, though.

He made his first-team debut for the Blades during the 2004/05 season, but after struggling to make an impact was shipped out on loan to Rushden & Diamonds.

The potential was there for everyone to see even at that tender age.

Nine goals in 16 games prompted Scunthorpe United to sign the striker on a permanent basis in 2005.

Over the next two seasons Sharp quite literally had a field day.

He scored 23 times in his maiden campaign and followed that up with another 30 in the 2006/07 season helping guide the Iron to promotion to the Championship.

Come that summer the interest in Sharp was intensifying and deservedly so.

A number of clubs made bids for his services, but ultimately only one of those really floated his boat.

A return to the Steel City, it was to be. Sharp arrived back home with a £2million price tag slapped on his head and expectations galore.

However, it was not to be the dream return he would have envisaged.

He had to wait until March to score his first league goal against Coventry, finding the net just three more times that season.

Sharp went back to the drawing board and started the 2008/09 season in devastating fashion.

An opening day hat-trick against Queens Park Rangers looked like setting the tone for the rest of the campaign, following that up with a crucial equaliser in a 1-1 draw against Coventry a few weeks later.

But that was to be his last league goal of the season.

Come July and Sharp’s dream return had turned into a nightmare – finding himself on the transfer list following the Blades’ failure to secure promotion.

Sharp in action during his second stint at Bramall Lane

A season-long loan to Doncaster followed. Sharp was unusually handed the No 5 shirt for the new campaign – and that killer goal instinct was well and truly back.

Injury halted his progress towards the end of the 2009/10 season, but still Sharp notched 15 goals in 33 league games.

United rejected a £1m from Doncaster, before Sharp himself turned down a move to recently relegated Burnley – despite the offer in excess of £1m being accepted.

Doncaster finally struck gold though, agreeing a fee of around £1.15m to land Sharp on a three-year deal in July 2010.

Sharp was a big hit at Doncaster during three separate spells

The second chapter of Sharp’s Sheffield United career had closed.

Unsurprisingly, he was a big hit at Doncaster during his two years at the club – and was on the move again in January 2012, reuniting with his old Iron boss Nigel Adkins at St Mary’s, penning a three-and-a-half year deal in the process.

However, it proved to be a strange time for Sharp at Southampton – making just 17 appearances spanning a two-and-a-half year period.

While he found the net nine times during that time, he was shipped out on loan to Nottingham Forest, Reading and former side Doncaster during that time.

The prolific striker made just 17 appearances for Southampton during a two-and-a-half year spell

Leeds United was Sharp’s next port of call, albeit a brief one.

The front man will be the first person to tell you that his spell at Elland Road was not the finest time of his career, scoring just five times in 33 appearances.

But then it was time for him to return home – and as they say, the rest is history.

His first season back at Bramall Lane heralded 21 goals, with his 30-goal return the next season helping Wilder’s men return to the Championship.

He has continued his goalscoring heroics in the second tier, too.

After falling just short of making the play-offs last season, there is increasing confidence around the Steel City that this is the season they return to the big time.

And Sharp – voted in the EFL Team of the Year earlier last weekend – deserves that more than anyone.

He comes alive in front of the Bramall Lane faithful, who he deservedly holds legendary status with.

However, for the great goalscorer he is – Sharp has just two Premier League appearances to his name.

That could all change next season. A return to the promised land would be nothing more than that ‘fat lad from Sheffield’ deserves.

Championship team of the year: Alternative XI, according to statistics with Leeds United, Norwich City and Sheffield United all represented

27 Mar

The players named in the Championship team of the season were revealed by the EFL on Tuesday and some eyebrows were raised after some notable omissions.

The player of the year shortlist was also announced with Birmingham’s Che Adams, Sheffield United’s Billy Sharp and Norwich striker Teemu Pukki all up for the top award.

Norwich City forward Teemu Pukki

The official team of the year announced was as follows: Darren Randolph, Max Aarons, Reece James, Liam Cooper, Jamal Lewis, Kalvin Phillips, Oliver Norwood, Jarrod Bowen, Che Adams, Teemu Pukki and Billy Sharp.

Leeds United fans were dismayed that Pablo Hernandez was not named in that team despite scoring 10 goals and registering 11 assists.

Liam Cooper was one of three players to be in both teams of the year

But the EFL have been validated, which is bad news for Leeds fans, because he is also not in the Championship’s best XI, according to WhoScored’s ratings.

The WhoScored and the EFL teams of the season differ wildly and there are just three players who make it to both.

Just two Norwich City players make it into that team despite their club being top-of-the-table while Sheffield United have just one representative.

Two of the players who are nominated for the player of the year prize, Adams and Sharp, have not even made it in the team.

The current team of the year

The team above is not final, unlike the EFL one, with players still able to force their way into the side with some good performances in the final eight games of the season.

WWE legend Mick Foley responds to Sheffield United striker Billy Sharp after ‘Mr Socko’ celebration

27 Jan

With the Royal Rumble taking place over the weekend, Sheffield United striker Billy Sharp celebrated with a timely nod to the WWE.

After equalising from the penalty spot in a 2-2 draw with Norwich on Saturday, the forward pulled out the sock puppet made famous by Mick Foley’s character Mankind.

WWE legend Mick Foley thanked Billy Sharp

Fans of the Attitude Era will remember the prop known as ‘Mr Socko’ being used as part of Foley’s finishing move the ‘Mandible Claw’ in which he would stuff his covered hand into his opponent’s mouth.

WWE Hall of Famer Foley was aware of the tribute and sent Sharp a message on social media thanking him.

Sharp responded to the former wrestler by hailing him as an inspiration, followed by a series of sock emojis.

The 32-year-old has enjoyed a prolific season in front of goal for the Blades, netting 19 times in 29 appearances.

He is not the first player to celebrate using a memorable wrestling move.

Last season, Wycombe Wanderers forward Adebayo Akinfenwa performed the People’s Elbow, the signature finisher of Hollywood superstar The Rock, on team-mate Luke O’Nien.