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Chris Wilder: 'Billy Sharp's decision whether to stay or leave'

Chris Wilder: 'Billy Sharp's decision whether to stay or leave'
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The 33-year-old has made just 12 appearances in all competitions this season, making two starts.

Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder will allow Billy Sharp to make his own decision about whether or not he leaves the club this month.

A handful of Championship sides have enquired about the availability of the Blades captain, who has started only one Premier League game this season.

Sharp has been made aware of the interest but has not asked to go, instead opting to remain at Bramall Lane and fight for a place in the team.

"I spoke to him about three weeks ago about it, knowing what would come up in January," said Wilder.

"And rightly so. If I was in the Championship and needed someone to give us a boost in January and score us some goals between now and the end of the season and saw that Billy Sharp wasn't playing at Sheffield United, then I would be asking the question.

"Always the decision is with Billy. Obviously from an individual point of view, Billy is disappointed he's not playing. The decision is with him and if he comes to me and says he needs to be playing then I will respect that."

Wilder admits he is keen for Sharp to stay, highlighting his importance off the pitch as well as being another option up front.

"He has an important part to play – and has played an important part with the pressure he has put on the strikers," said Wilder.

"Young strikers as well. How good is it for the likes of Callum Robinson, Lys (Mousset) and Oli (McBurnie) to have Billy to learn from?

"From my point of view, the example he has set, and is setting, and the influence he has on those young players is huge.

"We need him here as well between now and the end of the season so our need is just as big, if not bigger, as those clubs in the Championship."

Sharp will hope to be involved when the Blades host West Ham at Bramall Lane on Friday night.

The Hammers appear rejuvenated under new manager David Moyes after back-to-back wins against Bournemouth and Gillingham in the Scot's first two games in charge.

Asked if they will be a different proposition to the team the Blades faced in October when Manuel Pellegrini was manager, Wilder replied: "I believe they will be, yes.

"It will be a different type of game to the one in London. There's a different manager, a different message going into the players. They had a fabulous performance and result in their first game and then won away in the FA Cup.

"Looking at the manager's CV and what he's done, David Moyes is a hugely-respected figure in the game. His record from Preston to Everton for all those years was incredible – Everton were top six continually.

"The vast majority of his career he has been successful. With the attributes that he will bring to a talented group of players, I wouldn't bet against them staying up.

"We will be playing a West Ham team that has designs on climbing the table and I'm sure they will do that under David Moyes."


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