Sheffield Wednesday: Barry Bannan eager to cement Scotland starting berth
It took him the best part of two years to reclaim his starting position for Scotland - and Barry Bannan is determined to keep on performing to a high standard for the Owls to stay in Gordon Strachan's thoughts.
The gifted midfielder sparkled in the Scots comprehensive 5-1 triumph over Malta just over a week ago. Manager Strachan praised the 26-year-old’s display after they kicked off their World Cup qualifying campaign in fine fashion.
Bannan told The Star: “Everybody performed well and the gaffer was happy with my performance which was good. I think I did well and did myself no harm.
“I was pleased to play. I had not started in a while but you are not going to play if you are not playing at club level.
“Over the last few years, I’ve not played at club level. It is only since I have come to Wednesday that I have played week in week out.
“It was good to get a start in a big qualifying game and a big confidence boost for me.
“Hopefully I did enough to keep my place but there are a lot of good players in the same position as me who will be trying to get the shirt.
“It is up to me to keep doing well for my club and carry on getting picked.”
Competition for places has increased in the midfield department at Hillsborough, with the Owls bringing in Almen Abdi, David Jones and Adam Reach before the transfer window closed and Bannan is acutely aware he has to carry on delivering to remain in the team.
The former Aston Villa trainee said: “We have a lot of midfielders so it keeps everyone on their toes. It is only going to be a good thing for the club moving forward. We have a lot of good players and if you are not performing you could be out of the team.
“I enjoy competition. It brings out the best in me.”
Bannan, who has been utilised in a deeper central role this season, said: “I need to keep my form because there are a lot of players who can play in my position.
“I’m just trying to do my best for the team and if I can do that and we are winning then everybody is happy.”
A minor groin injury forced Bannan off late on against Wigan Athletic but he has declared himself fit for tonight’s duel with Bristol City.
“The Wigan game was more like the Sheffield Wednesday from last season,” he said. “We dominated the game for large spells and were back to our usual selves.”