Alan Biggs: Moody but magical Fernando Forestieri needs to be handled with care at Sheffield Wednesday
The difference between being in the Championship's top six or just outside of it is slender.
It can revolve around whether you have a precious commodity on the field; often these are the most fragile.
So it is with Fernando Forestieri and why Sheffield Wednesday are handling with care their biggest match-winner. Indeed, “fragile” is even a label that’s been applied from within.
Carlos Carvalhal’s number two, Lee Bullen, calls Forestieri a “fragile, emotional type of character” as well as being “a fighter.” You can be both. A Latin temperament throws up many examples of this and Fernando – who, says Bullen, “comes from a tough area of Argentina” – is a player of mood as well as magic.
Needing to adjust the first in order to get the second probably explains the praise offensive and the clever psychology that catapulted Forestieri into last weekend’s game at Fulham where, as Carvalhal had predicted, the former Watford star duly rekindled some of his best form, scoring in the 1-1 draw.
Failing to hold on for a win kept Wednesday two points outside sixth spot and, with margins so slight, underlined the value of a fully firing Fernando in the weeks and months to come.
It’s just four goals so far but still with time to match his 15 of last season if the turmoil of well-chronicled early-season events can be left in his wake.
Consider this: when Forestieri has scored this season Wednesday have taken 10 points from those four games. Wins against Aston Villa, Wigan and Huddersfield, a point at Fulham.
Bullen talks of seeing “a man possessed in training” and tells me: “The standards he set last year were phenomenal; Premier League in some of his performances. He was the difference in a lot of our games. He’d admit that this year he’s trying to play catch up on that.
“But he’s so talented he could be the best player in the league. Sometimes with the most talented players, though, there’s a little bit of inconsistency. He’s such a lovely kid and also a winner, a fighter. It’s good to see him training with that smile on his face again and looking back to his best.”
If he keeps that smile it could spread to quite a few others.