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This week in UTB

Billy Sharp and Paul Rogers

19 February 2020

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This week UTB - United's official matchday programme - features two bumper interviews ahead of a sell-out Premier League fixture against Brighton and Hove Albion.

We sit down with club skipper Billy Sharp to discuss all things Blades, including his recent run in the starting eleven, his role as captain during the winter break and his plans for further down the line when his playing career comes to an end.

Here's a snippet from the feature length interview as Billy explains that he had to stay patient as he waited for his recent opportunity to force his way into the side.

He told UTB: "I just had to be patient. Whilst I was out of the team, I did everything I could in training to push the lads as a captain, and also tried to be there for them. That has been a little harder at times when I was wasn't involved. When you are captain and not being in and around the dressing room quite as much on a matchday, at half-time and those last moments before you walk out. It is difficult because you do want to influence the lads, give them encouragement, advice etc. I've stuck at it though and I think the gaffer was happy with the way I trained, and the way I handled myself, so I am just delighted to get the starts over the last few weeks and I am grateful for the opportunity."

In our second big feature we also caught up with ex-Blades midfielder Paul Rogers who discusses life at the Lane during his stint between 1992 and 1995.

Rogers, who moved straight from non-league Sutton United to the top flight with the Blades, explained he had to hit the ground running after Dave Bassett almost immediately selected him to play in the first team.

Here, the now 54-year-old explained how he quickly had to adapt to life in the old First Division.

Paul told UTB: "There's a huge difference, the physicality of the pro game was massive compared to non-league. The skill and speed were not comparable either, but I was always fortunate that I was pretty fit and could run. It was the physical side where I needed to catch up. In the old Bramall Lane gym, I would watch Brian Deane and Brian Gayle lift a whole stack and I was there struggling with the six pounders. That took some getting used to. I was fortunate that there were one or two injuries, so I got into the team fairly quickly.

"It was such a dreadful start but by the time I got there, momentum was building. It was weird at the time because I played against Manchester United not long after I'd signed and I was up against Robson, Giggs etc - I'd been watching these guys on the TV a few weeks before."

There are full feature length interviews with Billy and Paul in this week's edition of UTB which also includes interviews with Chris Wilder, Oli McBurnie, Jack O'Connell and John Fleck.

All this plus much more in your bumper 100-page edition, priced at £3.50 and available from all the usual outlets.

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