Billy Sharp 'had to make' promotion to the Premier League with 'boyhood club' happen

Sheffield United captain and boyhood Blades fan Billy Sharp says he 'had to make' promotion to the Premier League happen - after being "hurt" by past near misses.

By James Copley
Monday, 29 April, 2019, 15:34
Sheffield born and bred: Billy Sharp celebrates United all but clinching promotion to the Premier League with a win 2-0 over Ipswich

Sharp only has two solitary Premier League appearances to his name both coming with Southampton in the 2012-13 season.

And the 33-year-old later missed out on the chance to play for Sheffield United in England's top-flight after the club lost to Owen Coyle's Burnley in the 2009 Championship play-off final.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, Sharp said: "I knew I had to make it happen this time because it didn't quite happen the last time I was at Sheffield United, and it hurt me."

It's been a stellar 2019 so far for the ex-Doncaster striker, however.

Sharp penned a contract extension, scored his 100th goal in all competitions for Sheffield United and made it into the Championship Team of the Season all while gaining a historic promotion to the Premier League.

He started his career at Brammal Lane but left in search of regular game time as United geared up for a season in the Premier League under Neil Warnock in the 2006-07 season.

The Blades were ultimately relegated in controversial circumstances but Sharp returned to the club after a stint with Scunthorpe.

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After spells with Doncaster Rovers, Southampton and Leeds United, Sharp joined United for a third time under Chris Wilder in 2015, helping the club to two promotions in three years.

And Sharp has been crucial in his side's escape from the Championship, scoring 24 goals in 41 appearances for United whose Premier League status was guaranteed when promotion rivals Leeds drew with Aston Villa on Sunday.

He said: "I was disappointed when I left. But I'm delighted I'm back now and I just want to enjoy the ride with the rest of the boys.

"To get one promotion with my boyhood club is something, but then do it twice and get to the Premier League is incredible and I'm going to enjoy every bit of it now.

"I've seen on TV that we are lacking in Premier League appearances [among the squad].

"I've only got two, and Chris Basham and Enda Stevens have played there as well, so we'll need to add some players who've got that experience and have the quality we will need to stay in the best league in the world."