Sheffield Wednesday: Scotland call would tick the final box for Barry Bannan

Barry Bannan, pictured during a previous call-up to the Scottish national teamBarry Bannan, pictured during a previous call-up to the Scottish national team
Barry Bannan, pictured during a previous call-up to the Scottish national team
New long-term contract? Tick. A superb run of form? Tick. The odd goal or two? Tick.

Things are going pretty well for Sheffield Wednesday midfielder Barry Bannan right now.

The 26-year-old last week signed a new three-and-a-half year deal after becoming one of Wednesday’s most influential players following his summer switch from Crystal Palace.

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And he ended a two year goal drought in December before following up with a stunning strike in the win over Fulham earlier this month.

So with Wednesday sitting inside the Championship’s top six heading into this afternoon’s trip to Reading, what could possibly be missing from Bannan’s professional life right now?

There is, of course, the matter of international football.

Bannan has won 20 caps for Scotland but has not made one of Gordon Strachan’s squads since last May when he was an unused substitute in a friendly against Qatar.

But there could be light at the end of the international tunnel for the Airdrie-born midfielder.

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“I’ve spoken to them over the last couple of weeks,” Bannan said of the Scotland coaches.

“I’ve had emails about the games coming up but I don’t know the squad yet.

“I’ve had contact from them so that’s a positive thing.

“Hopefully I can get back in the squad.

“I’m enjoying my club football and playing every week.

“I’m just concentrating on playing for Wednesday and hopefully I’m getting watched and I can do enough to get back into the squad.

“When I was with Scotland I really enjoyed representing my country.

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“I’ve got to keep doing my stuff with Wednesday and hopefully that will be enough to get me back in.”

During his time out of the Scotland squad, Bannan has been given some words of encouragement from manager Strachan.

And tips from the former Coventry City and Celtic boss have seen Bannan make changes to his game.

He said: “I spoke to Gordon Strachan a while back when we played Rotherham and Arsenal.

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“We had a chat last season when I missed out on the squad. I travelled to Ireland but didn’t make the bench. He pulled me in after that game and said to me ‘you need to score more goals and get in the box more.’

“I wasn’t really getting in the box. I was trying to make things happen rather than trying to finish moves off.

“He wants his midfielders to get in the box and score goals. That was one of the talks I had with Gordon after the Rotherham and Arsenal matches.

“He said I was doing that and to keep it up.

“I’ve definitely not scored enough goals. I’m getting chances though which is a good thing.

“I could have had another four or five goals this season.

“We’ll see what happens.”