Needless to say Billy Sharp is one of the most adored figures to ever grace the Bramall Lane turf after making his return to the club in 2015 – but will a previously flopped period in the Premier League hang over his prospects next season?
This is all hypothetical of course, with the race for the automatic promotion spots at the top of the Championship table as close as ever – torn between the Blades, Norwich City and Leeds United.
But the question over Billy Sharp’s future will weigh heavy in Chris Wilder’s mind as he prepares for his debut season in Premier League football.
Sheffield’s own Sharp is 33-years-old now, and though age has not yet dampened his form in the Championship, scoring a remarkable 35 goals in 67 appearances, the demands of the topflight far outweigh any other competition in the world – and he has already failed to meet to them once.
Indeed, Southampton was once the home Sharp, where enjoyed a prosperous season helping hoist the club into the Premier League before being unceremoniously disposed of the following year – presumably because the club felt he was ill-equipped to reach the aforementioned standards.
He has the goals – that much is obvious, and it has been the case at every level he has played at, from Scunthorpe to Doncaster, Reading and Sheffield United.
But being a striker in the modern game is so much more than just netting goals; it requires of players unparalleled dynamism, the need to both defend and attack with a similar level of vigour and maintain a fitness shattering level of intensity throughout the game.
And one of the most common concerns about Sharp is just that.
The forward is, by his own admission, a “fat boy” – as suggested in his 2012 tweet to Charlie Austin: “Charlie austin is doing us fat boys proud at the minute, goals for fun, he carries that form on he will have 20 for xmas.”
As sentimental as Wilder may be feeling next season, there is every chance that they could bring in a new striker to challenge Billy Sharp for the starting spot. And though this may not be a popular decision amongst the Blades faithful, it may be a necessary evil if they want to stay up.
Sheffield United fans, how do you feel Sharp will perform if you are promoted? Let us know in the comments below…Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!