Sheffield Wednesday legend Des Walker says the secret to the Owls’ unlocking the door to a Premier League return is simple... perform how they did towards the end of the last campaign.
The former England defender believes that the way in which Carlos Carvalhal’s side played last season, whereby they took little notice of the opposition and concentrated on their own talents goes against many modern footballing philosophies - and that’s the way he likes it.
Walker, now coaching with Derby County’s academy, was hugely impressed by the work Carvalhal has done since taking charge in June 2015, and he wants to see more of the same.
“I think they are a very good team,” said Walker. “Last season in the last five months they were the best team that came to Derby.
“They looked organised. They looked hungry, they had a way they wanted to play and they played that way and I think it was an open secret really that no one wanted Wednesday in the play-offs.
“Everyone knows their job. When you have a team and everyone knows their role within that team then that’s when you start to build trust.
“Everybody knew what the other person was good at. They were unfortunate they didn’t get over the line at Wembley.”
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He added: “I’m a believer that the game’s gone so technical now, where changes happen for change’s sake, where managers alter their tactics for the opposition, instead of concentrating on their own game. That’s what Sheffield Wednesday did last year. They played their own game, everyone knew their jobs and that’s why they performed so well and that, for me is the best way to be.”
Two clubs close to Walker’s heart meet on Saturday, when Nottingham Forest visit Hillsborough.
For the 50 year old, it is a fixture that often brings with it a feeling of regret, for Walker admits seeing them in the second tier rather than the top flight is ‘hard to swallow’.
“It’s been a long road (since dropping out of the Premier League),” added the man who made over 300 appearances for both teams. “For Wednesday and Forest, it’s been too long and something they probably took for granted.
“It’s hard to swallow, really, and although no one has a divine right to be there at the top, these are big clubs who I feel would add considerably, to the top league.”