Fans were upset to see Stuart Gray let go given the great job he did with Sheffield Wednesday last season, but in has come Carlos Carvalhal and the revolution of foreign players coming has already begun. It’s going to be an interesting season at Hillsborough.
Last Season: Championship (13th)
Manager: Carlos Carvalhal
GKs: Lewis Price, Keiren Westwood
DFs: Claude Dielna, Jeremy Helan, Jack Hunt, Darryl Lachman, Tom Lees, Glenn Loovens, Vincent Sasso, Marnick Vermijl
MFs: Sam Hutchinson, Kieran Lee, Liam Palmer, Alex Lopez, Marco Matias, Lewis McGugan, Filipe Melo, Jose Semedo, Ross Wallace
FWs: Sergiu Bus, Caolan Lavery, Stevie May, Atdhe Nuhiu
In: Darryl Lachman (Twente), Marco Matias (Nacional), Lewis Price (Crystal Palace), Ross Wallace (Burnley), Lewis McGugan (Watford), Vincent Sasso (Braga – Loan), Jack Hunt (Crystal Palace – Loan), Alex Lopez (Celta Vigo – Loan)
Out: Lewis Buxton (Rotherham United), Giles Coke (Released), Paul Corry (Released), Rafael Floro (Belenenses), Dejan Kelhar (Released), Gary Madine (Bolton Wanderers), Jacques Maghoma (Birmingham City), Joe Mattock (Rotherham United), Rhys McCabe (Released), Matt Young (Released), Kamil Zayatte (Released), Chris Kirkland (Released), Chris Maguire (Released)
First Six: Bristol City (H), Ipswich Town (A), Reading (H), Leeds United (A), Middlesbrough (H), Burnley (A)
Likely Lineup: (4-3-3) Westwood – Hunt, Lachman, Lees, Helan – Palmer, Semedo, Wallace – McGugan, Lavery, Matias
A word from…Gerald Sibon
On learning from Ajax The culture around the club is very similar to that of a team like Manchester United, they have to win, be prepared to win. If you have a four point lead in the league you know you have to become the champions because you are ahead and it is expected of you.
That’s the main thing you learn playing in Holland, the pace in the game is quite similar to England.
On settling into Sheffield life At first it was quite hard for me because they played a bit different to how we did over in Holland. We had another Dutch player there in Wim Jonk and he gave me a few tips about the football and settling in.
It took me 6 or 7 months to adapt but after that I really enjoyed my time there, it was fantastic to be in the Premier League for one year before we got relegated. But that was one of my best periods in football, I had a great time there.
I didn’t have the best understandings with the managers, where I’d come from the way we played was much different to how we played at Sheffield which was quite hard. We had some European players who wanted to play football whereas we had some British players who just wanted to play kick and rush and get the ball out of defence. I think it was difficult for the manager to get the best out of everyone and find a good balance in the team.
On the need for consistency I think I had 4 or 5 managers there in the period I was there. I had Peter Shreeves twice, Danny Wilson, Paul Jewell, Terry Yorath, Chris Turner. We were struggling too at the time, we’d had a good run at times with Efan Ekoku in good form and Carlton Palmer in the team but it’s difficult.
I do always go and have a look and see how they’re doing, I don’t know any of the players but it’s great to see attendances are still good and I think they did ok last season by the looks of it.
I think they’ve brought in a Dutch player too in Lachman, he’s a modern defender, he wants to play. He’s strong and quick, he had a bit of a hard time last year because he couldn’t quite manage being at a top team but he deserved his move to a top team when he moved to Twente. Hopefully he’ll do well in Sheffield.
On returning to Sheffield Definitely, I’d love to be there one day if an opportunity came up, why not? The first year there was always going to be difficult, I was a tall player and everyone thought I was a target man which I wasn’t and it took a while to change people’s opinions.
After that I think I got a bit more respected, but I had a great team, I got voted player of the year by the supporters which was really nice, so of course I’d love to go back.
The Offside Rule Podcast Prediction: It’s genuinely difficult to know what to expect from Sheffield Wednesday this season. It could go absolutely brilliantly or become a complete disaster. The manager is experienced and some of his signings look good, but it all depends on how he and his recruits adapt to Championship life.
Key Player: Lewis McGugan – The midfielder was excellent during his loan spell last season and he has finally signed a permanent deal at Hillsborough. He does have plenty of Championship experience and can lead from the front.
One to Watch: Marco Matias – Potentially the most eye-catching import from abroad, Matias had a great season for Nacional in Portugal last season and could be one of the buys to look out for in the league itself, never mind just at Sheffield Wednesday.