SUCCESS IS SWEET AS SHERI FOR TEDDY
By Rupert Webster
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
At the end of the 1999-2000 campaign, Sheringham's future at Old Trafford was in some doubt. United were only offering him a one-year extension to his contract and he was widely expected to leave the club, with West Ham and numerous Division One clubs vying for his signature.
But although Alex Ferguson did not guarantee him a first-team spot, Sheringham stayed at the club where he has enjoyed so much success over the past few seasons and has been rewarded by enjoying arguably his best season to date.
Sheringham started the season brilliantly. Despite the competition for places at Old Trafford and the squad rotation policy employed by Ferguson, the 35-year old missed only one of United's opening 16 league games. During that period, Sheringham scored 11 times and led The Premiership scoring charts for some time.
Throughout the 2000-01 campaign, Sheringham has continued to be the Red Devils' most potent goal threat. He has scored with a fantastic 30% of his efforts on goal, which is the best proportion at the club and significantly better than some of the Premiership's star strikers such as Thierry Henry and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink have managed.
Moreover, Sheringham has also been prolific in the Champions League, adding a further five goals to the 14 that he has scored in the Premiership. And although his chance conversion ratio of 23% in Europe is slightly worse than he has managed on the domestic front, it still makes him a better finisher than world-class forwards such as Rivaldo, Giovane Elber and Andrei Shevchenko.
However, Sheringham's vision, range of passing and creative abilities are what have set him apart from most English strikers for so long, and the 35-year-old appears to have lost none of his touch. He has set up six goals this term - more than any other striker at United - and been recalled to the England squad by Sven Goran Eriksson as a result.
It is a fantastic achievement for Sheringham to win the Football Writers award at a stage of his career when most players are thinking about retirement. But he is clearly a worthy winner, and with the prospect of another year at Old Trafford next term, one can only hope that Sheringham can replicate his form of this season in the future.