Sheffield United: '˜Billy Sharp has made a fool of you all' Chris Wilder tells the centre-forward's pre-season critics
Billy Sharp has made fools of folk who claimed he was no longer capable of scoring goals in the Championship, according to Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder.
Sharp enters the international break with eight to his name so far this season after helping fire United to the top of the table.
Wilder told The Star the 32-year-old's performances, combined with David McGoldrick's impressive start to life at Bramall Lane, are in stark contrast to pre-season predictions United lacked the firepower to compete with the division's leading teams.
"They had a chip at him in League One and before that," Wilder said. "It's just a measure of the lad's attitude.Â
"Off the pitch, his conditioning is brilliant. His general all round play is good and his training is taking him into games. We all know what Bill does and he's still outing there doing it. So, as far as I'm concerned, that tells you all you need to know."
After starting the match, United climbed above Middlesbrough and Leeds when they beat Hull City last weekend. Although Sharp was not on target, McGoldrick's match-winning penalty meant the two centre-forwards have netted a combined total of eight times in the club's last four outings.
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"Sometimes, there are lads who train hard all the time," Wilder said, highlighting Sharp's emotional attachment to United. "We always ask high standards and they have to be up there. Others, don't go full tilt but give enough that we're okay with.Â
"Billy, I've got to say, is going full tilt. We're asking questions of him. He's linking up. Obviously, he'll always score goals. We're just proud he's captain of a team that's going well, his home town club. He's kept driving it forward."
United, who return to action when they visit Derby County later this month, will be monitoring David de Gea's contract situation at Old Trafford as they investigate the possibility of retaining Dean Henderson's services beyond the end of the campaign. Henderson, on loan from Manchester United, is scheduled to spend the rest of the season in South Yorkshire and recently confirmed he would be interested in extending that agreement if first team opportunities at his parent club remain in short supply.
De Gea's deal is scheduled to expire this summer but with Jose Mourinho's side expected to trigger another 12 month options, the Spaniard's agent Jorge Mendes has reportedly opened talks about a new deal.