Sheffield Wednesday: Gray keeps faith in Floro

Owls left-back Rafael Floro fires in a shot in their Capital One Cup defeat at Rotherham United last season.
Owls left-back Rafael Floro fires in a shot in their Capital One Cup defeat at Rotherham United last season.
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Rafa Floro has escaped the Owls’ end-of-season clear-out and is being given an extended chance to make a mark in English football.

The 20-year-old Portuguese left back has made only two senior appearances in his first Hillsborough season.

He was signed on a one-year contract last August but it has emerged that the club subsequently took up an option to keep him for a further year..

The club will continue in an attempt to help him fulfil his potential.

Manager Stuart Gray explained: “Rafa has featured quite regularly for Portugal teams; he came here unable to speak our language; we arranged English lessons. He has potential and is more a member of the development squad.”

Floro, who has played for his country up to Under-20 level, made his full debut for Wednesday in the second match of this season, the Capital One Cup tie at Rotherham in August, and kept his place for the home Championship match against Burnley.

He was also an unused sub for the league game at Reading in February.

Floro came to the Owls on trial after leaving Portuguese club Porto and impressed the then manager Dave Jones in pre-season.

Wednesday have shed one left back with the release of Reda Johnson. Joe Mattock, a specialist in the position, emerged as the main option while Johnson was out injured, but Jeremy Helan can play there as well as on the wing.

It seems unlikely that a place in the first-team set-up is imminent for Floro, but Gray is keen to develop young talent as much as possible and believes that if young players become good enough then they will get their chance.

Teenage winger Jack Stobbs made his debut as a sub in the penultimate match of the season, against Bolton.

The Owls continue to firm up their plans for pre-season: a date with Newcastle on Wednesday, July 30, kick-off 7.45pm, is the first friendly to be confirmed and will be the only warm-up match to be played at Hillsborough.

It will be the first time that the clubs have met since a 2-2 Championship draw at Hillsborough on Boxing Day, 2009.