(Reuters) – Sheffield United captain Billy Sharp says spending the majority of his career outside the Premier League means he has special appreciation for their promotion to the top flight.
Sharp has scored 24 goals in 41 appearances in all competitions for Sheffield this season and their promotion was sealed when Leeds United drew with Aston Villa on Sunday.
The 33-year-old’s only two Premier League appearances came with Southampton in 2012-13 campaign and now he is relishing the opportunity to return with his boyhood club.
“I want to enjoy the ride with the rest of the boys,” he told BBC Radio 5 live.
“I appreciate it a bit more and I knew I had to make it happen because it didn’t really happen last time I was at the club.
“It hurt me and I was disappointed when I left but I’m delighted I’m back.”
Sharp, who began his career at Bramall Lane, returned for a third stint with Sheffield in 2015 and this season’s promotion is his second with the club after helping them win the League One title two years ago.
The striker expects the club to recruit players with Premier League experience in the close-season transfer window as they prepare for an extended stay in the top division.
“I’ve seen on TV that we are lacking in Premier League appearances (among the squad),” Sharp added.
“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.”
Goalkeeper Dean Henderson, who is on a season-long loan from Manchester United, remains keen to continue at Bramall Lane.
The 22-year-old has played in all 45 Championship games for Sheffield so far this campaign.
“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.
“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.”
(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar)