ATTACKING footballers capable of pulling off individual pieces of magic are a pre-requisite for teams with promotion aspirations.
In speedy winger Ben Marshall, Sheffield Wednesday boast a match-winner in their ranks who fulfils this requirement.
The 20-year-old, on loan from Stoke City, is in imperious form and was arguably the best player in the Steel City derby. He is the little conjurer who can create a chance out of nothing for his team-mates. Marshall has two quick feet, lovely balance and is not afraid of attacking the full-back on either the inside or outside.
Every time the skilful midfield operator picked up the ball and started running at full tilt towards United’s backline on Sunday, it felt like something was going to happen.
Marshall has the vision and passing range to open up tight, compact defences. His long throw is another major weapon while his delivery from set-plays is improving.
He troubled Matt Lowton throughout and was the driving force behind the Owls’ comeback. His pace, close control and dribbling skills regularly helped them turn defence into attack.
Megson said: “I thought Ben was terrific against United in getting a hold of the ball and carrying it. I think there were times with the quality the kid has got, where he put it over the top three times when I expected him to hit the target but he did well and so did everyone else.”
Marshall wants to stay at Hillsborough beyond January and boost
Wednesday’s promotion charge. He is due to go back to Stoke in the New Year.
“Ben’s only young, he can play either side, has great control and crosses a good ball,” said Megson recently. “He just needs some more experience.”
At the final whistle of the thrilling 2-2 draw, Megson punched the air in delight and raised both arms aloft in relief. He knew it was a lucky escape, considering the position Wednesday were in with seven minutes left, but insists it was no more than Wednesday deserved.
He said: “I thought it was a really good performance. We were solid.
“They had a couple of efforts but we worked hard, looked organised and passed the ball well. We created 10 opportunities over the course of the game.
“I thought our support was fantastic. It was unbelievable and it felt like we were at home to be honest.”
Megson added: “We have got a lot of things going for us. We have the fitness and honesty and I thought we passed the ball better against United.”