Sheffield Wednesday: Unhappy birthday for Oguchi

Oguchi Onyewu takes a tumble at Burnley, and has fallen out of favour with USA manager Jurgen Klinsmann
Oguchi Onyewu takes a tumble at Burnley, and has fallen out of favour with USA manager Jurgen Klinsmann
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Oguchi Onyewu’s omission from the USA’s World Cup plans means that he has missed out on his major goal for this year.

It was also an unwelcome ‘present’ for the centre half - he was 32 yesterday.

Onyewu, known as Guchi at Hillsborough, left QPR in search of first-team football in the hope that it would enable him to force his way into Jurgen Klinsmann’s squad for Brazil.

His signing by Wednesday and subsequent form aided him and the Owls and resulted in him returning to Klinsmann’s team to face Ukraine in Cyprus in March - his first call-up of the season.

Some American observers have suggested that Onyewu did not have the best of games in that friendly - which may be a clue as to why he has been left out of the 30-man preliminary squad for the World Cup, which will be whittled down to 23 next month.

It also seems that opinion in the States was divided about whether or not he should be included. He has experience, with two World Cups behind him, and has had a much-travelled career in Europe; but in American eyes there was serious competition for places. Most of the 30 players are virtually unknown to English fans.

Despite the disappointment of missing out on Brazil, the defender has done enough with Wednesday to prolong his stay in England. The Owls have signalled the start of contracts talks and could face competition from other clubs. Onyewu took a non-commital stance and declined to address his future until after the season was over.

Klinsmann sympathises with players left out: “Telling them that they are not part of the roster was unpleasant because you give those players a message they don’t want to hear. It hurts you because you know it hurts the player. But it’s something that a coach has to do.”