Sheffield Wednesday: David Jones hopes to retain Owls spot
It would mean everything to boyhood Owls fan David Jones to play a big part in the club's promotion push.
But despite putting in an impressive display against Huddersfield Town last weekend, the midfielder accepts he may struggle to hold down a regular starting spot due to Carlos Carvalhal’s squad rotation policy.
Jones, recalled to the starting line-up against the Terriers, told The Star: “Of course, as a player, you want to play every game and as many minutes as you can.
“But we have a lot of good players and the squad is going to be utilised.
“The manager is going to pick the players which he believes are suited to win that particular game.
“With so many good players in the squad, it is going to be inevitable that there are going to be changes. It keeps everybody hungry and everybody feeling involved in terms of you could be out of the squad and then play the next game.
“There is competition for places. You know you are never far away from the team which is only a good thing.
“All I can do is whatever minutes I get on the pitch is put in the best performance that I can and hopefully the team gets the result that we need.”
The 31-year-old grew up supporting Wednesday and joined the Championship club for an undisclosed fee, thought to be in the region of £1.8m, from Sean Dyche’s Burnley side two months ago. The former Manchester United trainee admits he is still adapting to Carvalhal’s methods.
“I have been learning my role and what’s required of me,” he conceded. “I think tactically as a team, we effectively employed what the manager wanted (against Huddersfield). We really restricted them.
“I was happy and pleased in terms of my personal performance but the team performance is what got us the result. It wasn’t any individual performance that stood out.”
It has been a big learning curve for Jones, who claims Carvalhal’s and Dyche’s footballing principles are chalk and cheese.
“The two managers play completely differently,” he said. “I’m quite experienced and had quite a few managers in my career but there are a lot of things that go on on the pitch where you need to know what’s required of you.
“They (Carvalhal and Dyche) set up their teams differently. I was required to do different things at Burnley than I am here.
“It is something you have to learn quickly. I have noticed here that the manager likes to control games a lot more possession wise which was different at Burnley.
“Sometimes you have to be more patient on the pitch with how the manager likes to play.
“I have definitely learned a lot in the first couple of months I have been here.”
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His ability to break things up came to the fore on Sunday as Carvalhal’s side sealed a fifth win in their last seven outings.
Jones said: “I wouldn’t say I’m doing more defensive work. It is just different. I was a holding midfielder at Burnley but they set up differently.
“Over my career, I have adapted and changed my game on what the manager has required from me.
“Initially in my career, I was more of an attacking midfielder but over the years my defensive game has improved dramatically. I learned a lot from Sean [Dyche] on those things. It is just a different role at this time.”
At his press briefing yesterday, Carvalhal confirmed his coaching staff advised him to adopt a more cautious approach against Huddersfield and their conservative tactics paid off.
Jones said: “The manager approaches each game differently.
“They (Huddersfield) didn’t really look like scoring and have had an impressive start to the season, especially at home. To go there, nullify their attacking threat and exploit them defensively shows it was a high level performance.
“Generally, we see ourselves dictating possession but it was a different game on Sunday and we nullifed their attacking threat and could have scored more. Everyone kept their discipline and did their jobs spot on and that’s why we came away with three fantastic points.
“It just goes to show we can go to difficult places and get the result that we need. Hopefully that will build confidence for the future.”
Jones has four second-tier promotions on his CV and is convinced Wednesday have what it takes to go the distance.
He said: “There are big characters here and the club had a good season last season. They have invested more money in the team to try and take us further.
“The foundation is there of the right characters that you need to put a promotion push on in this division.”
But Jones added: “Nothing is guaranteed at all. There are a lot of good teams in this league so it is going to be very difficult.”