Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder thinks Billy Sharp has made a mockery of suggestions he might buckle under the pressure of captaining the League One club.
Sharp - who, like Wilder, is a lifelong United supporter - faced claims it would prove impossible to combine the job with his responsibilities in front of goal after being handed the armband earlier this year.
But, rather than it adversely effecting his game, Sharp enters Saturday’s match against MK Dons having scored twice in each of his last two outings.
“Billy is really struggling with the captaincy, isn’t he?” Wilder said. “You can see what a problem it is. Joking aside, he just gets on with things and does what he has to do.”
Wilder named Sharp as his new captain after being appointed manager in May.
The 49-year-old cited Sharp’s consistency and attitude as factors behind the decision, despite United’s difficulties last term.
The centre-forward netted 21 times in 48 appearances but could not prevent them finishing 11th under Wilder’s predecessor, Nigel Adkins. Sharp has scored nine in 16 so far this term.
“Billy is great off the pitch too,” Wilder said. “But, then again, so are the other lads around in him in the dressing room. Billy’s a good character, he helps his teammates and he plays with his heart on his sleeve. Like I say, he’s not the only one by any stretch. But you can see that he cares.
“We need that attitude running all the way through the team if we want to keep the run going.”
United are fourth in the table and unbeaten in 10 league fixtures after drawing 3-3 with Bradford City last weekend.