The Sheffield Wednesday teen ace who has been tipped for a bright future
Barry Bannan has predicted a bright future for Owls young gun Alex Hunt.
Midfield starlet Hunt has regularly trained with the first team under Wednesday chief Jos Luhukay.
His eye-catching performances captaining the Under 18s team last season prompted Luhukay to promote him to the senior set-up.
And Hunt, who joined the Owls’ academy at the age of seven, showed glimpses of his quality on the ball in their recent pre-season friendly against Lincoln City. Hunt, a lifelong Wednesdayite, played the first half of the Sincil Bank fixture.
Bannan told The Star: “Alex is a very good player and is one who has caught the eye in training.
“He plays in a pretty similar way to me, which is probably why I like him as well.
“Alex plays the game in the right way and I think if he keeps on doing the right things and listening to the right people he will have a good future.”
Lowering the average age of Wednesday’s squad is a big part of Luhukay’s long term remit as he aims to turn around the club’s fortunes.
And given the Owls’ financial constraints, it is hardly a surprise the Dutchman has given plenty of opportunities to the next generation in their three warm-up matches. As well as Hunt, Ash Baker, Jack Lee, Jordan Thorniley and Fraser Preston have also featured versus Bury, Lincoln and NAC Breda.
Bannan said: “It is good that the young lads are getting a chance. We were all young at some point.
“It is a big confidence boost for those youngsters to get a chance in front of crowds like at Lincoln the other night. But it’s still early days for them. You will get one or two who will surprise you and who can play on the big stage straight away and you will get some that can’t but that’s for the manager to figure out.
“But the most important thing is they are getting a chance. If they are good enough, they will play.”
Other than Gary Hooper, Wednesday have no fresh injury concerns ahead of this evening’s trip to Mansfield Town.
Striker Steven Fletcher may be handed playing time, having resumed full training following a lengthy injury lay-off.
“There are players who are back who were out last season,” admitted Bannan. “The people who filled in did unbelievably well but they know that these players are coming back now and are hungrier than ever.
“They have been out for long spells so they want to be playing football. They love football and will want to be back playing.
“It keeps everybody who is here on their toes. If you are not performing, then you are not going to play.”