Lewis McGugan says it is up to each individual Sheffield Wednesday player to stake a claim for a place on Carlos Carvalhal’s starting XI merry-go-round.
The midfielder knows full well what it is like to be left watching on from the sidelines under Carvalhal. He failed to appear for the Owls for five weeks until returning to the side and scoring the winner at Newcastle United on Wednesday.
Given that Carvalhal has made on average 5.7 changes to his starting XI per game in the 11 matches so far this season, there is a fairly good chance McGugan will not start against Brentford this afternoon.
But now at least back in the fold after becoming a new father, the 26-year-old says it is clear only those who perform when given an opportunity will have a chance of getting in Carvalhal’s constantly changing side.
“No matter what the situation, every time you go out on the pitch, you’ve got to try and stake a claim and put in the best performance you can give,” McGugan said.
“You can do your bit and the rest will take care of itself.
“Since I’ve been out, the team has been doing really well and the players have.
“There’s a lot of competition and that bodes well for the team.
“Everyone is going out there trying to stake a claim.
“Sometimes you just have to bide your time, wait for your chance and try to take it.
“Anyone not pulling their weight won’t be in the team.
“I can only try to do what I can. It was good to get back out there on Wednesday and good to get a goal.”
Carvalhal praised McGugan’s match-winning contribution on his return to the Wednesday side.
“I pushed him a lot to come here,” the Portuguese said. “He is a very good technical player.
“It was not a surprise to see him score because we see it all the time.”
McGugan confessed it had been a ‘hectic’ month following the birth of his son but says he is determined to get things ‘back to normal’ now.
Following the highs of Wednesday night’s Capital One Cup triumph at St James’ Park, the Owls are getting things back to normal themselves today with the trip to Brentford.
And McGugan said focus will have shifted towards the Bees on Thursday, the morning after the night before.
He said: “It’s brilliant to have beaten Newcastle and drawn Arsenal in the next round but we’ve got a massively important game to come on Saturday.
“That’s what we have to look at. Immediately we dust ourselves down, recover and put all our focus into Brentford.
“We just need to take everything from Wednesday night, the positives, and look forward to Saturday.”