Sheffield Wednesday: Praise for enigmatic Atdhe Nuhiu

Atdhe Nuhiu
Atdhe Nuhiu
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To say that Atdhe Nuhiu is a divisive figure for Sheffield Wednesday is something of an understatement.

Debate rages on social networking sites over the merits, or lack thereof, of the big Austrian forward. And the arguments are unlikely to die down as his playing career progresses.

Aitor Karanka

Aitor Karanka

It is hard to deny Nuhiu can be a frustrating player to watch. Try to not get exasperated when his size and presence escapes him as he meets a cross inside the box with a wayward header.

But it is also hard to deny the value of having someone with the 26-year-old’s physicality.

Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka holds a certain degree of admiration for Nuhiu. Given he netted four goals in three matches against Boro prior to Saturday’s meeting at Hillsborough, it is easy to see why.

Karanka admitted he was surprised Nuhiu did not start for Wednesday against his Middlesbrough side at the weekend.

“In the second half with (Atdhe) Nuhiu on the pitch we knew it was going to be much more difficult because he’s a player who can change everything,” Karanka said.

“Last season we had a lot of problems to stop him and when he was on the pitch it was difficult.”

Owls head coach Carlos Carvalhal admits Nuhiu can be viewed in two ways but, while accepting his limitations, prefers to look at the positives surrounding last season’s top scorer.

“The first thing to me is that he gives 100 per cent,” Carvalhal said. “No one can tell me he’s not running, not fighting.

“He is giving the maximum and I appreciate that.

“If you ask me if he has some limitations, he had some limitations. If you ask me if he has very good things, he has very good things also.

“It is important to look on the positive things he gives to the team.”

Nuhiu grabbed his first goal of the season in last week’s Capital One Cup win over Oxford United.

He netted 11 goals last season, with his tally for the club now standing at 20 in 94 appearances.

Carvalhal added: “He is a player that disturbs our opponents. All the time the opponents are asking if he is playing because they care about the way he plays, not just to the first balls but the second balls.

“He is a player that has a good presence around the central defenders.

“He wins a lot of flicks, he waits for the colleagues and keeps the ball.

“He is not a speed attacker, he is not a killer, but he is a player that gives to us something we need.

“Complementary with other players, he can give a lot. Sometimes in the beginning or in another part of the match, he can help a lot. He is helping us and scoring as well.

“He is a different player. You can see everything in two ways, the bad things or the good things. I prefer to look to the good things, I am an optimist.

“He has good things but of course, he is not Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo.

“The good things that he has can help me or any coach in the Championship. I’m absolutely sure.”

For more news from Hillsborough click here