EXCLUSIVE: ‘It’s surreal to walk in and see Jordan in the dressing room’ - Andy Rhodes on Sheffield Wednesday’s new arrival

Jordan Rhodes on his Owls debut enters the field at the DW Stadium on Friday.....Pic Steve Ellis
Jordan Rhodes on his Owls debut enters the field at the DW Stadium on Friday.....Pic Steve Ellis
  • Goalkeeping coach Andy admits it was a nerve-wracking deadline day
  • Striker’s dad admits he was ‘determined’ to play for Sheffield Wednesday
  • Praise for ‘fantastic’ Owls owner Dejphon Chansiri
  • Andy says having Jordan around in the dressing room again will take some getting used to
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It was a hectic, nervous end to the transfer window for the Rhodes family.

After years of being linked with Sheffield Wednesday, Jordan Rhodes finally completed his dream move to Hillsborough last week. It ended one of the longest-running transfer sagas in the Owls’ recent history.

Goalkeeping coach Andy Rhodes with Carlos Carvalhal

Goalkeeping coach Andy Rhodes with Carlos Carvalhal

But Owls goalkeeping coach Andy Rhodes has revealed he always felt his son, at some point in his career, would end up wearing the blue and white colours of Wednesday.

Speaking exclusively to The Star, Rhodes snr said: “I thought something would happen whether I was here or whether someone else was because of Jordan’s determination to play for this club.

“He really wanted to be a Sheffield Wednesday player.”

Jordan watched on in the stands as Wednesday lost to Hull City in the Championship Play-Off Final last May.

Andy Rhodes congratulates son Jordan on his four goals against Wednesday for Huddersfield five years ago

Andy Rhodes congratulates son Jordan on his four goals against Wednesday for Huddersfield five years ago

Andy said: “The people who are close to Jordan know he loves Sheffield Wednesday and always has done. He has come to quite a few of games as a fan so he obviously really wanted the move to happen when the opportunity was brought up.

“I thought it would happen one day. Did I think it would happen this window? I didn’t know. I was a bit nervous.”

The Owls left it late but played the perfect waiting game to land Jordan on loan until the end of the season. They pounced after Aston Villa, aided by parachute payments and a wealthy chairman, pulled out of the race to sign the striker.

Regardless of what division Wednesday are playing in next season, Jordan will join the club on a permanent transfer in the summer for a fee thought to be in the region of £8million.

Owls keeper Keiren Westwood alongside coach Andy Rhodes...PIC STEVE ELLIS

Owls keeper Keiren Westwood alongside coach Andy Rhodes...PIC STEVE ELLIS

But the deal was far from straight forward and the Owls and Middlesbrough only filed the relevant paperwork just before the 11pm cut-off point last Tuesday. It prompted Football League officials to hold a hearing on Wednesday morning to determine whether or not the transfer was completed in time.

After an anxious 14-hour wait, the move officially went through Wednesday afternoon.

For Andy and Jordan, it was a big sigh of relief.

“It was stressful and got a little frantic on Tuesday,” said Andy. “Things got a bit panicky.

Owls Head Coach Carlos Carvalhal sandwiched between coaches Lee Bullen and Andy Rhodes

Owls Head Coach Carlos Carvalhal sandwiched between coaches Lee Bullen and Andy Rhodes

“We got the deal done around 10:30pm and then it was just a matter of getting the legal side sorted.

“It got a little nervy towards 10.55pm but our secretary assured us that it had gone through at our end.

“We went back to Sheffield on Tuesday night feeling disappointed that we only got a point at Bristol City but thinking Jordan’s deal was there.

“Having to then sleep on it overnight and not knowing until around lunchtime the next day that it had gone through was a little traumatic and stressful to say the least but all’s well that ends well.”

Andy has hailed owner Dejphon Chansiri for brokering the deal.

“The chairman has been fantastic,” he said. “He has done wonderfully well to finance it.

“What a statement from the chairman it is to get the deal over the line.”

Football runs deeply in the Rhodes family. Jordan left his uncle Steve Agnew, who is the assistant manager at Middlesbrough, to be reunited with his dad.

Andy is looking forward to linking up with Jordan again, having previously worked with him at Ipswich Town.

“It is great but quite surreal,” acknowledged Andy, who joined the Owls over seven years ago. “I forgot all about it until Wednesday morning when I walked through the boot room and saw Jordan there.

“I was thinking ‘oh gosh, we are going to have to get used to this again!’

“But we worked together at Ipswich for a lot of years so we have done it before. He’s gone off and had his career and so have I.

“But then to be bumping into him and seeing him in and around the building is a little surreal at the moment.”

Jordan speaks to his dad every day. He has a close relationship with him and admits it “helps” him being at Wednesday.

“I think he’s the one person that knows my game better than anyone else in the world,” said Jordan. “If I need things in training to improve and get better, he can certainly bring it.”

Following an unhappy spell at Boro, Jordan is looking to play an integral role in Wednesday’s promotion tilt. He made a positive impression on debut, setting up Ross Wallace for the only goal in Friday’s victory over Wigan Athletic.

It was just Jordan’s seventh appearance of the season, with Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka largely overlooking him.

Jordan has conceded he was left frustrated by his lack of match action for the Teeside club.

The centre forward, who celebrated his 27th birthday yesterday, netted six goals in 24 league outings for Boro after arriving from Blackburn for £9m in January 2016.

Andy said: “The disappointing thing is he didn’t have the opportunities he would have liked at Middlesbrough.

“He had waited all of his life to play in the Premier League and helped them get over the line last year. By the Middlesbrough owner’s own admisssion, Jordan got them 10 points. For one reason or another, Jordan wasn’t given the chances to start.

“But it happens in football and the Middlesbrough head coach has got his philosophy and way of playing. They have got some wonderful players but Jordan wanted to play and that’s what you get paid to do as a footballer. It is what Jordan has been doing since he was seven-years-old.”

Much is expected of Jordan, who plundered 156 league goals for Huddersfield Town and Blackburn Rovers, and there is a lot of hype and attention surrounding the Scotland international.

“Jordan is a calm person,” insisted Andy. “How will he handle it? How good will he be? I don’t know.

“All I would say is he has got a really good temperament to deal with situations like this.”

Jordan, who has agreed a deal until the summer of 2021, is expected to make his home debut in Friday’s televised tussle with Birmingham City.

Hillsborough is a ground which brings back happy memories for the former Ipswich Town trainee. Jordan has bagged an outstanding seven goals in his last four matches at S6, including all four of Huddersfield’s in their stunning 4-4 draw in December 2011.

Andy said: “I’m proud of everything my kids have achieved. It is fantastic Jordan is doing well in football but my other kids are also doing brilliant.

“My youngest son is a Performance Analyst for Stoke City’s first-team and my daughter is at University studying Criminology and doing great with her grades.

“I’m a very proud parent and thrilled they are all doing so well.”