‘I went from Man Utd to wrestling – but kung-fu Cantona wouldn’t be my partner’

Eric Cantona's infamous kung-fu kick might have landed him an eight-month football ban, but it wasn't enough to earn him a spot as Lee Sharpe's hypothetical wrestling partner.

If that all sounds a bit confusing, bare with us. Former Manchester United winger Sharpe, who shared a dressing room with Cantona for five years at Old Trafford, developed a penchant for reality TV after hanging up his boots. His stints on Celebrity Love Island and Dancing On Ice are well documented, but his first foray into the genre was as a competitor on ITV's Celebrity Wrestling back in 2005.

He wrestled under the (fabulous) pseudonym Sharpe Shooter, and battled for supremacy against the likes of former Liverpool defender Neil 'Razor' Ruddock and ex-Wimbledon forward John Fashanu. The show was hosted by wrestling legend Rowdy Roddy Piper while an aftershow programme was presented by a young Holly Willoughby, and Sharpe was trained by former WWE star D-Lo Brown – it was really something.

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Sadly for Sharpe, he was eliminated pretty sharpish (haw haw), though he managed to learn a few tricks of the trade before being power-bombed out of the competition. Speaking exclusively to Daily Star Sport, via 888Sport, the 52-year-old was asked to name a former United team-mate who'd have made the best tag team partner, and he snubbed kung-fu-kicking Cantona.

"I think Eric would be a good kickboxer or a Thai boxer. He'd be in MMA," Sharpe told us. "As far as wrestling goes, I'd probably pick Peter Schmeichel [as my tag partner] – just because he's so big!"

Which current Man Utd star would make the best wrestler? Let us know in the comments section below.

He added: "Peter is 6ft 4in, agile, strong. He can throw people around. I reckon he'd make a very good wrestler."

ITV canned Celebrity Wrestling after just one season due to abysmal viewing figures, with people slamming the show as nothing more than a tacky Gladiators knock-off. It was also poorly received among professional wrestling fans due to the notable lack of technical wrestling.

Dissatisfied with having just two sports in his weaponry, Sharpe took up golf a few years after quitting football, having become "obsessed" with the game in his 20s. He turned pro in 2021 and revealed earlier this year that he generally plays off a "one or two" handicap. He also said he has aspirations to play on the European tour.

As a footballer, Sharpe started out at Manchester United, and later played for Leeds, Bradford, Portsmouth and Sampdoria. Injury problems plagued the second half of his career, though he still retired with three Premier League titles, two FA Cups and a PFA Young Player of the Year award to his name.

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It's just a shame he couldn't add ITV Celebrity Wrestling champion to his list of achievement. If only he had a certain giant Danish goalkeeper in his corner back then…

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