Sheffield Wednesday: How Matt Penney fared against Stoke City's Tom Ince

The youngster making only his fourth league start for Sheffield Wednesday was up against one of the best players in the Championship.

Monday, 17th September 2018, 11:33 am
Updated Monday, 17th September 2018, 11:37 am
Matt Penney up against Tom Ince

Matt Penney versus Tom Ince: the Owls academy kid challenging himself against the Stoke City winger who has also played for two clubs in the Premier League.

20-year-old left-back Penney came through last Saturday's exam with his football education enhanced, earning praise from the boss who handed him his first-team chance earlier this season, Jos Luhukay.

Matt Penney up against Tom Ince

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"It was a big test against Ince, absolutely. Matt will learn from that," the Wednesday manager said.

Penney took time to get to grips with Ince, who dropped out of the top flight with Huddersfield Town to join the Potters in a £10 million switch, as Stoke raced into a 2-0 lead, but stepped up his game after the break to once more underline his huge potential.

"He made a good impression," Luhukay added after the Owls had fought back to earn a 2-2 draw. "He was better in the second half than in the first half."

Matt Penney

Ince, who has also seen top-flight action with Hull City, is one of the leading talents in the second tier and had a hand in both of the visitors' goals. He scored 37 times in 96 Championship starts for Derby County between 2015 and 2017.

Despite his tender years, Penney has excelled since Luhukay called him into the team and has played a big part Wednesday's four-match unbeaten run which has lifted them to ninth in the table.

The home-grown prospect, who admitted to having "goosebumps" when he ran out for his first senior Hillsborough outing, in the 2-1 win over Millwall last month, is set for his fifth league start at Nottingham Forest on Wednesday.

He almost gave the Hillsborough crowd goosebumps of their own with a 70-yard run down the left flank in the 77th minute, when he turned away from two players and beat two more before bringing a good save from England goalkeeper Jack Butland.

Had he scored with his well-hit low shot, it would have been an even better goal than Barry Bannan's stunning 22-yard free-kick five minutes later that sealed the Owls' fightback.

"Matt had one amazing action in the second half when he went from his own half to Stoke's 18-yard area," Luhukay said. "He was close to finishing it as well. 

"Had his shot gone in, we'd have been sat here talking about his goal as well as Barry's."