Sheffield Wednesday: Gray admires Semedo steel

Jose Semedo complements Kieran Lee
Jose Semedo complements Kieran Lee
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Stuart Gray has spelled out his admiration for Jose Semedo and desire for the midfield player to remain at Hillsborough.

The Owls manager is also setting a challenging in front of the man who is recognised for his defensive attributes.

Gray wants Semedo, if he stays, to follow in the footsteps of his midfield partner Kieran Lee and start scoring goals.

“Our improved run came when we had Semi and Kieran in central midfield,” said the Wednesday boss, not the only Semedo admirer in the camp.

“You see articles in the match programme where players are asked who the best trainer is: they alway say it’s Semi.

“His strengths outweigh his weaknesses. I want him to score goals as well; Kieran has got one and I want people to chip in.”

Lee’s goal at Ipswich was his first in two years with the club; Semedo has scored once in his three-year stay.

Gray admires Lee’s vision and passing and Semedo’s defensive steel.

“You need combinations in your team, for example your right back with your right-side midfield player, and left back with the left-side midfield player; if you have the right combination with two in centre midfield, they complement each other; if one goes forward, the other sits.

“Semi does the screening job in front of the centre halves very well.

“He knows I value him and want him to stay.

“He might have other irons in the fire, but fingers crossed he’ll stay with us.”

Agreement on personal terms appears to be the only bridge to be crossed, as Semedo has said this season that he loves life at Hillsborough, would like to finish his career at the club, and rates Gray as the best coach that he has ever worked with, with a Jose Mourinho-like ethic in making every player feel important.

The Portuguese star has said of his boss: “He knows about the game. No doubt about it. He is a top, top coach. The atmosphere on the training ground always helps everybody and his sessions are amazing. Everybody enjoys them.

“He is the best I have ever had. He knows about the training, he knows what to demand of players, he knows how to work with the players and talk with the players.”