Sheffield United captain Billy Sharp says he appreciates promotion to the Premier League more because he was “hurt” by going so close in the past.

The boyhood United fan, 33, was at the club when they lost to Burnley in the 2009 Championship play-off final.

His only two Premier League games came in 2012-13 after moving to Southampton.

He told BBC Radio 5 Live: “I knew I had to make it happen this time because it didn’t quite happen the last time I was at Sheffield United, and it hurt me.”

Sharp has scored 24 goals in 41 appearances this season for the Blades, whose promotion was sealed when Leeds drew with Aston Villa on Sunday.

He began his career at Bramall Lane, but missed their last season in the Premier League, in 2006-07, as he was sold to Scunthorpe United in 2005 and returned two years later.

After subsequent stints with Doncaster Rovers, Southampton and Leeds United, he joined the Blades for the third time in 2015 and this season’s promotion is his second with the club after helping them win the League One title two years ago.

He said: “I was disappointed when I left. But I’m delighted I’m back now and I just want to enjoy the ride with the rest of the boys.

“To get one promotion with my boyhood club is something, but then do it twice and get to the Premier League is incredible and I’m going to enjoy every bit of it now.

“I’ve seen on TV that we are lacking in Premier League appearances [among the squad].

“I’ve only got two, and Chris Basham and Enda Stevens have played there as well, so we’ll need to add some players who’ve got that experience and have the quality we will need to stay in the best league in the world.”

Henderson wants to stay with Blades

Goalkeeper Dean Henderson has been on loan with the Blades from Manchester United this season and has played in all 45 Championship games so far.

The 22-year-old, who spent the 2017-18 campaign on loan with Shrewsbury Town, is keen to remain at Bramall Lane next season.

“Obviously it comes down to money but I’ll be itching at the bit to come back here next season,” he told BBC Radio Sheffield.

“Everyone loves each other. In the changing room, we’re like brothers and we look after each other no matter what the situation is.

“It made me really emotional to get this club back where they belong. They’re a massive club and driving forward they deserve to be in the Premier League.”


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