Big aerials and stability – What Ben Heneghan brings to Sheffield Wednesday and how he compares

Ben Heneghan has become Sheffield Wednesday’s first signing of the summer – but what does he bring to the party?

Tuesday, 14th June 2022, 4:51 pm
Updated Tuesday, 14th June 2022, 4:52 pm

The 28-year-old will join the Owls on July 1st when his contract with AFC Wimbledon officially comes to an end, however it's thought that the plan is to get him in for preseason alongside his new teammates from June 20th.

We took a look at how the centre back stands up alongside departing duo, Sam Hutchinson and Chey Dunkley, to see how well he’ll go about replacing them in the Hillsborough backline.

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When comparing Heneghan to the two outgoing centre backs, one thing in particular stands out…

While his average aerials won is less than Dunkley, and his pass success is lower than Hutchinson’s, he’s more reliable when it comes to availability.

Last season in League One Heneghan played 3690 minutes across 41 games - the two departing players played 49 games and 3829 between them.

Of the three, Hutch led the way in tackles and interceptions - however not by much - with Heneghan averaging 0.7 tackles per game and 1.3 interceptions.

Ben Heneghan is Sheffield Wednesday's latest signing.

However Wednesday’s new signing was clear ahead with regards to clearances - 6.9 per match - and blocks - 1.1 per match - whilst also averaging 0.9 shots per game.

So while Hutchinson (82.% pass success) is seemingly better on the ball compared to both Dunkley (62%) and Heneghan (60.2%), and Dunkley has a remarkable aerial victory rate of 7 per game (compared to Hutchinson’s 2.9 and Heneghan’s 5.7), Moore’s first signing feels like somewhat of a happy medium.

After all, given the amount of games played, if you work on totals rather than averages, then Heneghan leads the way in practically several of the stats that matter - and he’s also the youngest of the three.

The tall central defender won 233 aerial duels, made 283 clearances, blocked 44 shots and made 54 interceptions in the third tier - all higher than the departing defenders.

So, in summary, Wednesday’s first signing of the summer is younger, available more often, and has several key stats better than his predecessors, and has been playing in a side at the opposite end of the table. So there should be more to come.