International calls show Owls are on the right road

International breaks can be seen as somewhat of an irritation, particularly when a club side is doing well late in the season.

Wednesday, 23rd March 2016, 3:27 am
International duty: Lucas Joao and Barry Bannan. Photo: Steve Ellis

But Sheffield Wednesday defender Tom Lees says it is a cause for celebration due to the club’s glut of international call-ups.

Daniel Pudil, Barry Bannan, Lucas Joao, Joe Wildsmith and Aiden McGeady have all received call-ups for games over the next week.

And Lees says that is the perfect reflection of the strides Wednesday have made on the pitch this season.

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“It is really good we have got so many guys away now. It means we have got quality players,” the centre half said. “I wish them well.

“I just hope the lads don’t come back with any injuries.

Joao has been selected for Portugal U23 side to face Mexico on Monday in the hopes of securing a place at the Rio Olympics this summer.

Bannan – currently one game into a three match ban after picking up a red card in the win over Nottingham Forest – will be hopeful his superb form for Wednesday will lead to his first Scotland cap in a year when they take on Czech Republic tomorrow night.

That game will also likely feature Daniel Pudil who is looking to cement his place in the Czech squad for Euro 2016 in the games with Scotland and Sweden next Tuesday.

McGeady was mainly used as a substitute in the Republic of Ireland squad for the later stages of their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign so will be looking to impress in the friendlies with Switzerland and Slovakia on Friday and Tuesday respectively, now he has solid game time under his belt since his loan move to Hillsborough.

Wildsmith has the opportunity to play for England U21 in the European Championship qualifier in Switzerland on Saturday.

Lees admits the opportunity for rest this weekend presented to those members of the Wednesday squad not in international duty will be valuable.

The Owls’ season will be defined by the seven games which take place in April.

Lees said: “We have players away on the international break and we will be in training in the week, before a bit of time to recover over the weekend when we don’t have a game.”

Wednesday return to action at Huddersfield Town a week on Saturday.