Sheffield United: Blades skipper Billy Sharp shows his prowess in a different kind of box

Billy Sharp in the commentary box with Radio Sheffield's Jonathan Buchan and Doncaster Rovers legend Mickey Walker
Billy Sharp in the commentary box with Radio Sheffield's Jonathan Buchan and Doncaster Rovers legend Mickey Walker
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He’s a regular in the box... but this time, it was the commentary one, rather than one on the pitch, for Sheffield United skipper Billy Sharp.

Less than 24 hours after helping United to a battling point on an awful pitch at Oldham, Sharp made a guest appearance in the Keepmoat Stadium commentary box as an expert summeriser with BBC Radio Sheffield as Rovers took on Plymouth Argyle in a crunch clash at the top of League Two.

Weeks earlier, Sharp - who enjoyed three spells at Rovers earlier in his career - joined Sky Sports presenter Bryn Law as Derby took on Burton Albion and although the 31-year-old striker has no immediate plans to retire from playing just yet, he is keen to explore all potential future avenues for a life after football.

“Rovers v Plymouth was a game I enjoyed a lot more than the one I played in at Oldham the day before, because of their horrible pitch,” Sharp, who also runs a soccer school for young kids, admitted.

“Going back to Doncaster was nice, as a few of the fans were waving and asking for my autograph.

“When I do finish and if I do go into commentary, it probably won’t be like that. But it was nice to still be appreciated.

Sharp in action on the field

Sharp in action on the field

“Commentating is different to playing but a good experience. I watch football as much as I can at home, or I do when my missus isn’t moaning about it or the kids are saying: ‘Daddy, come and play’.

“In the commentary box, I watched the game like I always do and tried to give my honest opinion.

“I tried not to be biased towards Doncaster.

“Obviously, I wanted them to win but there were two good teams in League Two. Doncaster were the better team but Plymouth did what they have done all season, stayed strong and solid and got the result.”

Before he can think further about life after the game, Sharp has the small matter of making sure his boyhood club win the League One title to contend with.

As skipper, he admits to having thought briefly about how it would feel to lift a trophy at Bramall Lane, but for now his focus is solely on Wednesday evening’s game against Coventry City.

“I know I’d rather be top of the table than chasing,” Sharp admitted, when asked how his teammates would deal with the pressure of the title run-in.

“There’s pressure regardless of where you are because you have to win games. That is the bottom line.

“If we win all our games between now and the end of the season, we are champions and promoted.

“We can win all those games but if we win all the home ones and get a point in each game away then, again, we will be promoted.

We know what has to be done.”

With United’s blank weekend, due to Coventry’s Checkatrade Trophy commitments on Sunday at Wembley against Oxford, United’s 13-point lead over third-placed Fleetwood could be cut if they overcome Swindon.

Bolton, who start the weekend seven points behind Sharp and his men, are at home to Chesterfield but Sharp - one of several members of Chris Wilder’s squad with big-game experience on their CV - is confident they won’t buckle under any pressure from the chasing pack.

“Experience always helps in life,” added Sharp, a promotion winner with Scunthorpe and Southampton already in his career.

“If you have done it before, you know what might happen so you are ready. The lads who have not experienced it are focused, though, as well.

Look at Chris Basham; he has so many qualities and has played right back, centre back, centre midfield... I wouldn’t mind playing upfront alongside him, too!

“But wherever he plays, he is good for the team.

“I asked him the other week if he’d ever had a promotion. He hadn’t, and yet he would be the first person I would want alongside me in this type of situation.”