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Stoke City (A) Wed 4 Mar 2015, 19:45, Barclays Premier League

by Adam Clark @efc_adamclark

There was a time when Graeme Sharp struck fear into his rivals on football’s unforgiving battlefields. 

Now Everton’s leading post-war goalscorer has proved he's still a warrior at heart.

The 1980s legend headed to the site of the famous Terracotta Army, a collection of statues depicting the fearsome soldiers of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China.

Dating from the third century BC, the sculptures were discovered in 1974 by local farmers in the Lintong district of Xi'an, the city where Sharpy and two Everton coaches are carrying out the latest leg of the Club's innovative Football Dream tour.

Taking time out from the coaching sessions they've been delivering all across China, Sharp was asked to don a costume resembling the armour worn by the warriors - and admitted he was only too happy to oblige.

"The people who have been looking after us have been great and they asked me to put on the suit and I thought, why not?" the former striker told evertontv. "It was all in the name of fun and they say when in Rome, do as the Romans do, so why not the same for China. It was a good laugh but just a bit hot. I was glad to get it off!"

Graeme Sharp, Steve Darby and Robbie Anderson at the site of the Terracotta Army.

As for the statues, of which there are around 2,000, with a further 6,000 thought still to be buried underground, Sharp was impressed and intrigued.

Believed to have been commissioned by Qin Shi Huang to ward off evil in his afterlife, each warrior is said to have been built with its own unique facial appearance.

"They were absolutely fantastic," Sharp lauded. "We'd heard so much about the warriors but to actually be there and witness them firsthand was great and I was really pleased to be able to enjoy that.

"We're privileged to be in this position with the people who are looking after us and once again I've been very, very impressed with what we've seen.

"The hospitality from the Chinese people has been absolutely fantastic too, something you could only dream of. If anyone can get over to China to see some of the sights, I'd thoroughly recommend it."

Sharp's tour concluded with a visit to Xian's eight-century old city walls, where he risked life and limb to attempt a tandem bike ride with Everton's Senior Academy Development Officer Robbie Anderson, one of his cohorts in the Football Dream project. 

"It was tough," joked Sharpy. "But every day and everything we do is a new experience out here. I don't think I'd ever been on a tandem before.

"I was quite fortunate to be driving because I don't think it was quite as hair-raising for me as it was for Robbie!"

Sharp and the team are now set to head to Shanghai, the sixth and final city of the Football Dream tour. Look out for more tales from their travels on in the coming days.

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