Billy Sharp is determined his latest contract at Sheffield United will not be his last.
Sharp is one of three players who has just signed a new deal, with the captain extending his stay at Bramall Lane until 2022.
By the time that expires the striker will be 36-years-old. Yet Sharp isn’t thinking about hanging up his boots any time soon.
“I haven’t signed this contract to wind down and finish my career,” the 34-year-old told BBC Radio Sheffield. “I’m determined to get another one after this.
“I’ve got a great opportunity to be captain of this football club, which is an absolute honour and I love doing and I want to carry on doing.”
Sharp continued: “I’m going to work hard for the next two seasons after this one and chase the next contract.”
If anyone can achieve it, Billy Sharp can
Some may be thinking that Sharp is kidding himself thinking he can stay with the Blades into his late 30s. Especially if they remain a Premier League team.
Yet the forward has made a habit of proving doubters wrong and exceeding expectations throughout his career. There have been many difficult moments for Sharp over the years, both on and off the pitch, but he has never let them hold him back.
Not many would have thought he would be the top scoring player in English professional football this century. But he is. Sharp surpassed that in 2019 and is still adding to his impressive total of 230 goals and counting.
Back in the 2012/13 season, when he played just 18 minutes in the Premier League for Southampton before being moved onto Reading, many said the top flight was beyond him.
Ahead of this campaign – the Blades’ first in the division in 12 years – that opinion was reaffirmed. Adrian Durham called Sharp “League One” on his talkSPORT Drive show; despite the fact he had scored 23 Championship goals in 2018/19.
So it was fitting that, on the opening day of this term at Bournemouth, the attacker came off the bench to score the equaliser. It was his first Premier League goal and he has netted twice more since.
Sharp keeps proving doubters wrong
Then in January, Sharp was linked with an exit. Celtic, Leeds United and Nottingham Forest were all thought to be interested and Gabby Logan said on Match Of The Day that he’d been told he could leave.
Manager Chris Wilder hit back at those comments and Sharp has since become an integral part of the team. Before football’s indefinite suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic, he had started the past five league matches.
Sharp will probably start against Aston Villa tonight. So if he thinks he can play for the Blades into his 37th year, don’t rule it out.