Sheffield United boss angered by striker speculation

Chris Wilder has expressed his frustration with the speculation surrounding Billy Sharp and Luke Freeman during the transfer window.

Thursday, 6th February 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 6th February 2020, 6:05 am

Despite claims they had been declared surplus to requirements ahead of last week’s deadline, both remained at Bramall Lane with Sharp starting the win over Crystal Palace.

Wilder had repeatedly stressed that Sharp and Freeman were viewed as integral to his plans for the second half of the campaign.

But, speaking ahead of Sunday’s visit of AFC Bournemouth, he appeared to suggest his words had been deliberately misinterpreted by some.

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“I was disappointed with a situation when people were talking about me allowing Billy to go out,” Wilder said, referring to an interview he had conducted with a domestic television channel. “Their ‘facts’ weren’t right.

“I said if Billy knocked on my door and said he wanted to play elsewhere then I’d do what I could to facilitate that. He hadn’t. So that was the end of the story.”

Sharp, United’s captain, struggled for opportunities at the beginning of the season despite scoring the equaliser against Bournemouth on the opening weekend of the campaign. But he has started United’s last three outings after impressing off the bench at Arsenal.

Freeman was signed from Queens Park Rangers following United’s promotion from the Championship last term.

Luke Freeman joined Sheffield United from Queens Park Rangers: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

“There’s always wheeling and dealing that goes on,” Wilder said. “We’ve always been active in that.

“But they were part of the group, they are part of the group. And as far as I’m concerned, that was the end of the story.”

Billy Sharp in action for Sheffield United at Millwall in the FA Cup: Robin Parker/Sportimage
Chris Wilder manager of Sheffield Utd shouts from the touchline during the Premier League match at Selhurst Park, London: Paul Terry/Sportimage