GARY Madine has told how a rapport with Gary Megson has helped to rejuvenate his Wednesday career.
The striker believes that they did not hit it off at first.
But Megson helped to give him the confidence to become the League’s top scorer.
The 21-year-old explained: “The first day he came, he brought me off at half time.
We had a few words a couple of days later. I don’t think we saw eye to eye at the start.
“I got my head down and worked hard and I think he realises I’m an honest person, maybe not the best professional off the pitch but I’m working on that.
“I’m now showing him on the pitch what I can do, and I think he knows that.”
Madine, who says he is living down his former reputation as a bad boy, says that confidence has played a big part in his surge to top form after an undistinguished opening to the season.
“People are showing more faith in me, I don’t think the gaffer and I saw eye to eye at first but now we’re on good terms; we really get on.
“He thinks I’m a good player and he tells me that. I’m going into games thinking I’m a good player and I’m going to score.”
His old reputation arose from off-the-field issues during his time at Carlisle:
“When I was at Carlisle, maybe I was out too much. I got into trouble; I was out with the wrong crowds, maybe.
“Now if I’m going out, it’s with the lads; they’re all good professionals. They sort of get my head down if I’m getting a bit lairy. But I think I’m always improving.”
Megson has remarked that Madine’s form has improved vastly since early season and says that the level to which he can rise is “up to him, if he keeps working at it and improving as he is doing.”
The Owls chief added: “Big centre forwards are at a premium. He’s one. He’s the top scorer in our division. He’s only 21. He’s had one or two false dawns; now he’s doing well.
“He’s made mistakes, like all 21-year-olds. He’s got to enjoy his life, everyone has. You just have to make sure that while you’re enjoying it, everybody else is doing.”
Madine is certainly loving life just now: “I just feel happier with myself. I’m settled in my place. Thet gaffer has shown a lot of confidence in me, I’m getting on with all the lads; we’re so together it’s unbelievable. We’re all best friends, really, It makes coming to work easier.
“I think I’m a bit of a confidence player. Sometimes you go into the box and you think ‘I don’t know if I’m going to score this one’. At the minute, I’m thinking ‘give me a chance and I’ll put it in the back of the net.’
With 11 goals already, he needs to score only seven more to equal a target Megson set for each of his strikers at the start of the season. “If I can get 18, I have to set my goals again, maybe 25. If I can get 25, I’ll be very proud.”
If one comes against his old club tonight, he will not celebrate, so long as he has not been booed by home fans.
He is “absolutely buzzing” about going back to Brunton Park with Wednesday again and holds Carlisle in great affection as they gave him his big break; he had been released as a youngster by Middlesbrough and was playing Sunday football when he was snapped up.
“It’s where I grew up; I still love the club; I keep in touch with a lot of people there.
“When I got my chance there, I played 26 games and scored 13 goals.”
Madine’s last goal was in the Sheffield derby - one that provoked debate, with him heading home as keeper Steve Simonsen tried to deal with the cross.
The striker has shown what some would regard as a mischievous side by posting on Twitter, after United conceded a late equaliser at Leyton Orient: “Heard from a good source Simonsen was flapping at crosses again. Coincidence?”
Madine says: “I don’t really like Twitter. I’m just enjoying winding people up at the minute; it’s getting a few laughs from the lads. I made a little comment about Simonsen, I hope he doesn’t take it too hard. It’s meant as a joke, but I know people are getting annoyed about it.”
Apart from having what Megson describes as a “brash” personality, Madine is also self-critical: “I had a couple of chances to score on Saturday. I didn’t think I played that well. When I was told I’d got Man of the Match, I asked if my uncle had voted for me. If people think I’m doing well and I don’t. Maybe I set my standards high.”