Sheffield Wednesday: Carlos Carvalhal hails '˜fantastic' Owls star Sam Hutchinson
His commanding, aggressive, whole-hearted performances have, from time to time, been missed in midfield this season.
But Sam Hutchinson has been a revelation since Owls boss Carlos Carvalhal switched him to centre-back.
With Wednesday short on defensive cover, Carvalhal opted to alter Hutchinson’s position in pre-season.
His bold decision has paid off, with Hutchinson forming a promising partnership with Tom Lees at the heart of their rearguard. The former Chelsea youngster has consistently performed at a high level and was voted by Owls fans as their October Player of the Month.
And Carvalhal is not surprised by how effectively Hutchinson has performed his new role.
He said: “We decided to put Sam at centre-half this season. Why? Firstly, we believe he really is a fantastic centre-half.
“Sam is fast, strong, very good with the ball - which for our style of football is good, building from the back - he is aggressive and a good header.
“He has everything to be a top central defender. Secondly, the way he played in midfield it was very aggressive.
“He ran a lot, liked to win all the balls, and in this kind of environment you can get injuries and yellow cards. So he missed games, not because of injuries, but because of the yellow cards.
“We analysed Sam as a midfielder and centre-half last season. After I spoke with him, we took the decision to play him at centre-half.”
Hutchinson is poised to make his 14th start of the season when Carvalhal’s side host mid-table Ipswich Town today.
“If you see Sam this season, he is playing regular and doing very well in that position,” said Carvalhal.
“We have brought another midfielder in to that (holding) position, and we are very happy with Jono [David Jones]. He is a fantastic player, personality and quality, and getting better and better. He is at a fantastic level now.
“Almen Abdi can play there too, Jose Semedo can cover that position also, so it was a very good decision on our part to put Sam in defence.”
Carvalhal added: “Sam is like the team, performing well, integrating with the dynamic, and at a good level. The collective is improving.
“With our expectation levels, he isn’t surprising us with what he is doing.”