Billy Sharp has spoken of his pride after being installed as Sheffield United’s new club captain under boss Chris Wilder.
The Sheffield-born striker was informed of his appointment just before fellow Blades supporter Wilder was unveiled as Nigel Adkins’ successor in the Bramall Lane hotseat.
Sharp was in Manchester Airport waiting to board a flight when he heard the news, which he admits left him on cloud nine: “The gaffer called me and told me he was doing a press conference, and asked if it was OK to name me as his new skipper,” Sharp told The Star.
“It didn’t take me long to say yes! I had no hesitation. And to be honest, I’m delighted. And proud. As are my family, they’re all proud of me.
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet, either, and I’m not sure it will until the first time I lead the team out. And to do that at Bramall Lane will be extra special. I can’t wait.”
Sharp, who turned 30 in February, scored 21 goals last season and was one of a few leading lights in a disappointing campaign, which saw United finish 11th and resulted in Adkins losing his job.
“I think I’m a good age to be a skipper, if there’s even such a thing,” Sharp added.
“At this stage of my career, I think I could be a good skipper - obviously, the gaffer thinks that too - and I have a good relationship with the fans.
“It’s a cliche that we need 11 captains out there on the field, but it’s true. We need everyone to be a leader, I’m just the one who has to lead from the front I guess.
“There’ll be aspects of my game that I will have to change to suit the captaincy, but I’m sure the gaffer won’t want me to change too much about my role.”
Sharp will be joined in pre-season training by returning colleague Marc McNulty, fresh from his successful spell on loan at Portsmouth.
The Scot scored 12 goals for Portsmouth in their failed Play-Off campaign, and Sharp said: “I was reflecting on the season the other day. Che Adams and myself scored 30 between us, Dom Calvert-Lewin scored eight on loan [at Wilder’s Northampton] and Sparky scored a few too. So I’m sure the gaffer is excited by players who are capable of scoring goals.”