Ex-Sheffield United star closing in on the WSL with Leicester City thanks to Billy Sharp’s help

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Former Sheffield United midfielder Sam Tierney is closing in on the Women’s Super League with Leicester City – thanks to the help of a Blades legend.

The 22-year-old, who lives in Totley, balances her budding football career alongside studying full time for a masters degree in sport business management at Sheffield Hallam University and coaching at Billy Sharp’s football academy.

Now playing at centre-half, she produced two strikers’ finishes – her first goals of the season – earlier this month to send Leicester three points clear at the top of the Women’s Championship with a game in hand and just four matches left.

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"I said to Billy I must have learnt that goal off him because it was around the the six-yard area,” said Tierney, who first joined the Blades aged eight.

"He’s fantastic, a great guy. I have a lot of chats with him about football and he’s really helpful. I couldn’t think of anyone better for anyone to work for and I enjoy every minute with him.”

A former England youth international, Tierney made the move into full-time football with the Foxes last summer, ending a 10-year association across two spells with the club she supported as a child.

“It was very difficult for me being from Sheffield and Sheffield United was my club,” she said. “It wasn’t an easy decision.”

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"I just finished my undergraduate degree at the time and said to my mum I had always wanted to try full-time football.

Sam pictured with Billy Sharp and the academy's director of coaching, Ryan Hopkinson.Sam pictured with Billy Sharp and the academy's director of coaching, Ryan Hopkinson.
Sam pictured with Billy Sharp and the academy's director of coaching, Ryan Hopkinson.

"I was a bit nervous, I didn’t know how the transition was going to go. I spoke to my mum and she said ‘You won’t know unless you try it’."

Almost an ever-present for Leicester this season, she believes her first year as a professional ‘couldn’t have gone any better’.

"Definitely the aim is promotion,” she adds. “We would be incredibly disappointed with ourselves if we didn’t finish over the line."

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Tierney is no stranger to success at this level. She was Player of the Season at Doncaster Rovers Belles when they won the WSL 2 in the 2017/18 season under current Sheffield United Women manager Neil Redfearn.

Sam holds of Ashleigh Goddard of Crystal Palace.Sam holds of Ashleigh Goddard of Crystal Palace.
Sam holds of Ashleigh Goddard of Crystal Palace.

He joined the Blades last summer following the departure of former boss Carla Ward and several first team players, including Tierney.

She says: "It’s tough when a lot of things change, especially with the wider club now, there’s still a lot of change going on. Credit to them, they have started to pick it up.

"He [Redfearn] is such a great guy, he’s very old school, he knows what he wants and how he wants to get it. It worked for us, it was a fantastic year."

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So, what does the future hold for a player capped by England at under-15s to under-21s level who could soon be playing in the top tier?

“Women’s football is still growing so for me education has always been very important,” Tierney says.

"England was always an aspiration but it’s always something I feel will come as a result of hard work and could come whenever.

"My main focus at club level is to hopefully stay at Leicester long-term and see how far we can go. It’s incredible where the club’s looking to go in terms of its direction and I want to be a part of that, it’s extremely exciting.”

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