Sheffield United boss Slavisa Jokanovic confronts Daniel Jebbison links with Everton and hails "clever" Billy Sharp as he

Slavisa Jokanovic insisted Billy Sharp can remain a key player at Sheffield United for many years to come after watching the centre-forward fire his team into the third round of the Carabao Cup.

Wednesday, 25th August 2021, 4:00 am

Refusing to be drawn on claims that teenage striker Daniel Jebbison is attracting interest from a host of Premier League clubs, Jokanovic hailed Sharp’s footballing intelligence following his match-winning effort during last night’s victory over Derby County.

Sharp, aged 35, stepped off the bench to seal United’s progress; scoring the 251st goal of his career after Luke Freeman had earlier cancelled-out Louie Sibley’s opener for the visitors..

Jokanovic, whose side returns to Championship action at Luton Town this weekend, told The Star: “Billy Sharp was clever and still is clever. He wants to play the games. He didn’t start the game but this is a man who wants to be on the field and is fighting for the club.”

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Slavisa Jokanovic manager of Sheffield United looks on during the Carabao Cup match at Bramall Lane, Sheffield: Simon Bellis / Sportimage

Asked if Sharp, who was also on target during Saturday’s derby with Huddersfield Town, is setting an example for United’s other attackers to follow, Jokanovic added: “It is not necessary to compare because all of my players have different characteristics.

“He (Sharp) is a clever man in the box and outside the box too. He has scored a lot of goals and is still scoring.”

United fell behind when Sibley pounced on a defensive error just before half-time, before Freeman scored for the first time in United colours. Sharp completed the comeback after being introduced, midway though the second period.

Jebbison, 17 years Sharp’s junior, started the tie despite reportedly being the subject of a £5m bid from Everton on the eve of the game. Leeds and Aston Villa are also understood to be monitoring his situation closely. Jebbison became the youngest player to score on their full Premier League debut when United, who had already been relegated, triumphed at Goodison Park towards the end of last term.

“I am not thinking about this situation with Daniel,” Jokanovic said. “In the future he can be a very important player in the Premier League, the Championship and maybe the national team. Why not?"