Sure-shot Ryan Sharman has play-off goals with Cambridge City
There has been no stopping the Lilywhites attacking midfielder in front of goal
Twenty nine goals at this point in a season is a tally that any midfielder would crave, and the key point here is the midfielder aspect.
Ryan Sharman has been in fine goalscoring form for Cambridge City this season, with 27 in the Evo-Stik League, South East Division and two in cup competitions.
But he is eager to set the record straight on his position, with the freedom to roam sometimes becoming misconstrued about his role in the team.
“I’m playing in the No 10 role behind the striker,” said the 22-year-old. “The frustrating thing is all the papers keep saying I’m a striker but I’m actually a midfielder; I’ve always been a midfielder.
“I’ve been playing in that No 10 role so it gives you the licence to roam around the pitch – out wide, central and behind.
“I think I work well in that role so that’s been key as you can make runs into the box where you don’t really get picked up.
“With the late midfield runs I’ve been getting on the end of those balls, and you also need a bit of luck as well.
“I’ve been No 10 for the last couple of years. But I’m not up there with the striker, we’re not a two. I am in the hole so I do have to get back and help the midfield when I can.
“It is more of a free role, though, that I enjoy.”
Sharman’s form will no doubt have got teams from higher up the pyramid casting admiring glances, and it may be no surprise as the player was at the West Ham academy between the ages of 11 and 15, before going on to Southend.
He was released by the Shrimpers at 16 and went to St Neots from there, in the hope of working his way back up the leagues.
“Jordan Gent was in the St Neots first team at the time and said he thought I should go along as I would have a good opportunity of breaking into the first team at a young age,” said Sharman.
“I did, as I managed to get a few games when I was 17 and broke into a starting position when I was 18 so it worked out really well.
“It happens more and more these days where players get picked up from non-League football and I didn’t really want to hang around academies just doing scholarships playing under-18 and under-21 football, I rather just got straight into men’s football as quickly as possible.
“I’m happy with the decision, I think it was right for me personally.”
Sharman’s scoring exploits seem to be even taking the player by surprise. His previous highest tally was 16 last season – spread across City and former club Soham Town Rangers.
He set a target of 20 at the start of the season, but that was revised at Christmas once he sailed past the figure and the new mark was 30, and it seems that may have to rise as well – maybe even to 40.
But while he may have his individual goals, Sharman’s bigger aim is to help get City in the play-offs.
“We have 12 massive games and play-offs are the aim,” he said.
“We definitely can’t win it because Rushden are running away with it. There is always a chance we can finish second if we can win our games in hand because we are still six points behind but we’re hoping they slip up.
“Hopefully we have a good strong finish to the season and end up at least in the play-offs and take it from there.”
Sharman’s 29th goal of the season came in a 2-1 win over Uxbridge last Saturday. The win was sealed by Ebby Nelson-Addy 79th minute strike.
City’s next match is at home to Aylesbury United this Saturday (March 24).