Heading into the New Year Billy Sharp was left at a crossroads.
Does he leave his boyhood club in search of regular football? Does he find a side where his dwindling abilities may suit him better?
Sheffield United’s stance and indeed Sharp’s were abundantly clear. He wanted to stay and the club would let him decide whether he would remain at Bramall Lane.
Manager Chris Wilder made Sharp aware of calls he was fielding for the forward throughout the month but he eventually decided to stick around.
Before the 21st January, Sharp had started just the solitary game in the Premier League, making 12 appearances from the bench.
It was the sign of a player who was being somewhat phased out by his manager. £20m signing Oliver McBurnie, along with Lys Mousset, seemed to be preferred but that didn’t put Sharp off.
A man who has always believed in his own abilities, he fired the Blades to promotion last term by scoring 23 goals. He also earned a nomination for the PFA Championship Player of the Year.
Given the rise in quality, it was unsurprising that United brought in added fire-power over the summer but the role Sharp would go onto play was far too irregular.
However, since swatting away offers from other teams, he’s now started two games in a row following the conclusion of the window. In all competitions, the veteran has played four consecutive matches from the off.
Though, if there were still question marks over whether he has what it takes in the top-flight, he banished those last Sunday.
In vindication of his desires to stay in Yorkshire, Sharp bagged the equalising goal for the Blades, wheeling away in delight as he capped off one of his best performances of the season.
He established a brilliant partnership with McBurnie as between the pair of them; they won 15 aerial duels throughout the match.
Sharp showed fantastic energy to perform two dribbles while he was a constant threat – registering three attempts at goal.
It was this type of display that we saw so regularly from the £1.8m-rated man in the Championship. If he can now do it at this level, it’ll be quite the achievement.
His gamble to stay and fight for his place has so far been worthwhile.
In other Blades news, Chris Sutton has passed judgement on the Pickford vs Henderson debate…