Former Sheffield Wednesday youngster describes Owls regret and offers advice to Alex Hunt and co
Uncertainty over the size of squad Sheffield Wednesday manager Garry Monk is likely to be left with in the coming weeks sees it increasingly likely that a handful of young Owls, led by midfield man Alex Hunt, will be exposed to minutes as a gruelling fixture schedule awaits.
Monk admitted he was still unsure of the futures of several of his soon-to-be out-of-contract players following Saturday’s draw with Nottingham Forest.
The likes of Connor Grant and Liam Shaw have been pictured training with the first team alongside current academy graduates Hunt and Osaze Urhoghide since the Owls return to training last month ahead of a run of eight games in 24 days starting with the trip to Bristol City on Sunday.
Former Wednesday starlet Luke Boden, who burst onto the scene as a 17-year-old in 2006 under Paul Sturrock as he deputised for an injury crisis, has reflected on his experiences as a youngster at the club and, speaking to The Star, offered advice to young players stepping into the breach.
Sheffield-born Boden, who played 15 times for the Owls is now 31 with a successful career in America under his belt, left South Yorkshire for Orlando City in 2011 after falling out of favour under Alan Irvine.
“One of the things I’d say straight away is to get it out of your head that you’re a young lad playing in the first team,” said Boden from his home in Florida.
“It’s such a difficult thing, especially with the squad that’s there now and the one that I came through in, there are seasoned pros that have been in and around the Championship or the Premier League and have had very successful careers.
“You get thrown in and that’s my biggest regret. I should have had a feeling of ‘I’m here because I deserve to be here’, not that I was a young lad making up the numbers. That sometimes creeps in.”
Monk has exposed the entire Owls academy to training sessions throughout the regular season as he looks to build a new future at the club. Hunt provided a confident cameo from the bench on Saturday.
He’s also made it clear that the youngsters that have been promoted on merit after impressing prior to the three-month suspension.
“To any of those that are given the opportunity I’d say go out there, earn your right to be there and enjoy it,” Boden said.
“I was playing with players that I’d watched as a kid, that’ll be the same for them. You can’t let that get to you. Have that confidence and know that they are good players and that they deserve to be in the team.
“It’s hard to make an impact. Having a good game or a good training session isn’t enough. It’s consistency that earns you that respect from senior players and having consistency, quality and that confidence, it’s a difficult thing to put together.
“But those that can do it have a great chance. It’s about your mindset as much as your ability.”