Video: Sheffield Wednesday ... why new-deal Atdhe Nuhiu is a big man for the Owls

Have your say

Nine goals in eight matches at the end of last season showed what striker Atdhe Nuhiu can do when he's given a run in the Sheffield Wednesday side.

But Owls old boy Jon Newsome says it takes a defender to appreciate the true value of the towering frontman whose exploits have earned him a new contract at Hillsborough.

Hat-trick man Atdhe Nuhiu

Hat-trick man Atdhe Nuhiu

Newsome, an uncompromising centre-half in his S6 playing days, is delighted to see the Kosovan international commit his future to the Championship club for the next two years.

Nuhiu is just the type of teammate Newsome valued when he figured at the heart of the Wednesday rearguard in two spells between 1989 and 2000.

"With big Atty, you can hit him with that long ball and he makes a bad ball a good ball because he'll chase the channel and work somebody," he said.

"Suddenly, you might have a throw-in on the edge of their box. You can get out and play in their half for a little bit. It takes the stress off you.

Goal joy

Goal joy

"I always feel, when you're under the cosh a little bit and you've got to put your foot through it from back to front, when you've haven't got that big presence up there, the ball comes back too easily.

"When I was a player, we used to say, it's like playing against a brick wall. It keeps coming back. You can't get out and you end up camped on the edge of your own box. The pressure becomes relentless and eventually something gives."

Nuhiu, signed for the Owls by then-boss David Jones in 2013, had been a squad player until new manager Jos Luhukay turned to him for the 2018 Championship run-in.

The 28-year-old responded by scoring at the rate of more than a goal a game, including a Goal-of-the-Season contender in a 4-1 home win over Preston North End and a memorable hat-trick in the 5-1 last-day Hillsborough triumph over Norwich City.

Jon Newsome

Jon Newsome

"Atty had a brilliant end to the season. He's a fans' favourite," said Newsome, now 47 and a regular at Wednesday games.

"I think he really deserved his new deal. He's had a bad press in the past, but he brings more to the team than some people think. He's never going to be a Fernando Forestieri, but Fernando Forestieri is never going to be an Atty Nuhiu.

"Fernando is never going to rise at the back stick over a 6ft 3in centre-half and power the ball at goal or back across the area. It's horses for courses. Atty had been a very good impact player.

"Then he got his chance, he scored a couple of goals and his confidence just grew. He was showing at the end of last season the best of his ability.

"That goal he scored against Preston was unreal. He picked up the ball in the corner, dribbled past three players and curled it into the far corner. It was one of the best goals I've ever seen at Hillsborough."

Nuhiu joined his teammates for the start of pre-season training this week and the 6ft 6in centre-forward could be a key man again next term.

"He's another option, a good option," Newsome said. "I think sometimes in the past Wednesday have over-passed. When Atty's in the team, they're more likely to get the ball wide and stick it into the box.

"It's a squad game now. It's no longer the same 11 players starting every week. It's about rotation these days.

"Does he make my starting 11? He does for certain games."

For more news from Hillsborough click here