Wembley heartache drives Sheffield Wednesday star Fernando Forestieri

Owls Fernando Forestieri can't hide his joy at scoring
Owls Fernando Forestieri can't hide his joy at scoring
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There have been times over the last nine months when Fernando Forestieri’s profession has left him an emotional wreck.

The Argentine-born forward admits he has shed many tears after finishing work, but they have largely been happy ones.

Forestieri has enjoyed the season of his life. In 36 appearances, the little magician has found the back of the net 15 times and is the Owls’ leading goal-scorer. When he is not weighed in with goals, he has created them.

“This has been an amazing, unbelievable year for me,” he said.

“Sometimes when I have gone home and thought about what I have done, I have cried. I have never had such a beautiful season.”

Forestieri is a passionate individual and he underlined that perfectly in Wednesday’s penultimate Championship fixture of the season. He raced on to the field to celebrate with his teammates after the Owls had doubled their lead against Cardiff City at a raucous Hillsborough - despite having already been subbed off!

Boss Carlos Carvalhal took Forestieri off to prevent him from picking up a second yellow card.

“When I go on to the pitch, I just focus on that particular game and try to do the best that I can,” he said. “I play with a lot of passion and I need to sometimes control myself.

“I forgot I had a booking (versus Cardiff) and for the second goal, I went inside the pitch to celebrate with Gary Hooper and the team. I forgot about everything that had happened in the moment.”

It is Queens Park Rangers midfielder Alejandro Faurlín who Wednesdayites should thank for Forestieri opting to snub Leeds United and join Carvalhal’s revolution last August.

Forestieri said: “Alejandro is a close friend of mine and before I signed for Wednesday, I spoke to him and asked him what his thoughts were on the club and should I come here.

“He said ‘Don’t think and go to sign’. I want to say thank you to him because he pushed me to sign for Sheffield Wednesday.”

Nearly four years have passed since Forestieri featured as a substitute for Watford in their Championship Play-Off Final defeat to Crystal Palace. He would dearly love to go back to Wembley with Wednesday.

“It (losing the Final) spurs me on to go one better,” he said. “I hope I can help the team with the experience that I have.

“But it is not just about one player. It is about the 11 players who start and the seven guys on the bench.”

Forestieri, named the club’s Player of the Year at The Star Football Awards last week, is confident Wednesday can prevail in the knockout tournament.

“I’m so happy and proud of what the team have done this season,” he said. “We have done everything good.

“The Play-Offs are a big challenge and we have got an opportunity to do something big and important for this club. I hope we can do it.

“I think the newspapers and Sky Sports are not talking about us a lot because we have finished sixth. That’s good for us because I don’t think we have much pressure. The other teams have more pressure on them than we do.

“We have a lot of confidence and believe we can do something great. We know the Play-Offs are very difficult, but anything can happen and we will try to do the best that we can.”