Sheffield United legend Brian Deane admits he is not at all surprised that Billy Sharp is showing no signs of slowing down, after the Blades skipper passed the century mark of goals for his boyhood club.
Sharp, the 33-year-old, also became the first Championship striker to break the 20-goal barrier this season on Friday night when he netted a hat-trick in United’s 3-3 draw at Aston Villa, which saw Chris Wilder’s men surrender a three-goal lead and concede three times in the last 13 minutes of the game.
Sharp cut a distraught figure after the game as he collected the man of the match award from Sky immediately after the game but, ahead of Wednesday night’s clash against fellow promotion-chasers Middlesbrough, Blades legend Deane told The Star: “From a personal point of view, it’s very satisfying when you score and although the team ended up drawing the game, at the end of the day scoring goals is what a striker is paid to do.
“Sometimes you have to accept that you’ll get goals and the team will concede, just as at other times you’ll miss a chance and the defence will win the game.
“In my career I remember I was always disappointed not to score but I’m sure in time, he’ll look back with fond memories of scoring the hat-trick and going past 100 goals for Sheffield United.
“As a forward you always think about goals because that’s what you’re ultimately judged on.”
Deane was an early hero of Sharp’s from his days at United, for whom he scored over 100 goals across three spells, and he added: “Now again Billy and I will text or something. I know he talks fondly of me and I like watching him, seeing him score goals.
“He’s got a genuine energy on the pitch, more than a lot of forwards seem to have, and seems really energised in the box.You need those kinds of players, and I enjoy watching him,
“As you get older, you become smarter and so when playing against less experienced players, it’s easier to find space in the box.
“As long as you’re still relatively fit and mobile, it can be a good time as you’re coming up against players who don’t have the experience to handle your movement.
“Am I surprised Billy is still scoring at 33? Not at all. He’s a goalscorer but he works tremendously hard, closing down defenders and he sets the tempo of the team.
“He knows his game and his strengths, in and out of possession, and there’s no pressure on him whatsoever – other than being in the right place at the right time when that ball drops. And to be fair, he’s doing that brilliantly.”