Billy Sharp says the best manager he has played for after current Sheffield United boss, Chris Wilder, is Nigel Adkins.
This might surprise a few Blades fans considering the sorry time Adkins had at Bramall Lane during the 2015/16 season.
With Sharp in the team they finished 11th in League One under the 55-year-old that campaign. It was United’s lowest league position since 1983.
It resulted in Adkins being sacked and replaced by Wilder. Two promotions in three years followed and now the Blades are seventh in the Premier League.
At the age of 33, Sharp finally scored in the top flight this term. The most prolific goalscorer in English football this century netted in the opening day draw at Bournemouth.
Sharp has since scored twice more in the league in 2019/20 – but Wilder isn’t the first manager to give him a chance in the division. That actually came in 2012/13 with Southampton, when Adkins was in charge.
He also signed Sharp for Scunthorpe United and Reading, as well as bringing him back to South Yorkshire in 2015. So not everything Adkins did during his time in charge was bad.
Why Adkins is the Sheffield United captain’s favourite manager after Wilder
Sharp revealed his admiration of Adkins during a chat with the Undr The Cosh podcast. The Blades skipper was asked directly who his favourite boss was after Wilder.
“Sheff United fans will think this is a funny one,” Sharp said. “Nigel Adkins was good to me because he’s had me at four clubs. It just didn’t work at Sheffield United.
“His mannerisms around the pitch I don’t think would have helped. But that’s the way he is, that’s the way he wanted to coach and that’s the way he is as a person.
“Your face doesn’t fit sometimes. It’s happened to me as a player.”
Adkins spent more than a year away from management after leaving Bramall Lane, before making a return with Hull City. His 18 months at the KCOM Stadium were fairly successful, guiding them away from the Championship relegation zone during his first season.
Adkins then took Hull to 13th position in 2018/19, before deciding to leave the club that summer. He hasn’t taken another managerial job since.