Sheffield United: Manager Chris Wilder addresses Billy Sharp’s future at Bramall Lane

Billy Sharp will not be leaving Sheffield United
Billy Sharp will not be leaving Sheffield United
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Captain Billy Sharp will not be leaving Sheffield United, Chris Wilder has confirmed, despite losing his place in the club’s starting eleven.

Speaking ahead of today’s FA Cup fourth round tie against Championship rivals Preston North End, the United manager insisted Sharp remains a key member of a squad he believes can challenge for honours on two fronts.

Chris Wilder and Billy Sharp following last season's League One title triumph

Chris Wilder and Billy Sharp following last season's League One title triumph

“No, he won’t be going out,” Wilder, addressing reports Bradford City want to sign the centre-forward, said. “I won’t consider that. All of them have got parts to play, they all bring something to the table and I don’t know what’s around the corner. I’m looking forward to managing them through an exciting second part of the season.”

Sharp scored 30 goals during United’s march to the League One title last season but has played only 88 minutes of football this year. However, he is expected to be handed a key role when Alex Neil’s side visit Bramall Lane. United, who are sixth in the table, return to league action against Aston Villa on Tuesday before travelling to Wolverhampton Wanderers next weekend.

“Every player has got a big part to play,” Wilder said. “We’ll assess where we are at the end of the season and players will assess too. But this is not a time for people to talk or speak individually. I won’t accept that and I won’t allow it. I appreciate they all want to play but it’s not an individual sport.

“That’s what we’ve built our group on,” he added. “I’ll explain why people are out of the team but I won’t entertain that. Players have to be prepared to come in and then maybe step out. There won’t be individual scenarios. They have to accept that if they are 19 or 20 or the most experienced of players.”

Billy Sharp gives the captains armband to Leon Clarke after being substituted: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Billy Sharp gives the captains armband to Leon Clarke after being substituted: Simon Bellis/Sportimage