Garry Monk impressed by Matt Penney and Joost van Aken as returning pair fight for their futures

In terms of squad size, Sheffield Wednesday squad may have a slight deficit when it comes to players that have come in and out of the club in recent weeks, but it is hoped that two familiar faces can act as new additions.
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Matt Penney and Joost van Aken are enjoying the first weeks under the tutelage of Garry Monk since returning from their loan spells at German second tier outfits St Pauli and Osnabrück last season.

Earlier this summer the Owls took an option to extend Penney’s deal to the end of this season, which is when Dutchman van Aken is also currently due to the leave the club.

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Monk made it clear late last season that returning players would be given an opportunity to impress and speaking to The Star, it seems to be a case of ‘so far, so good’ where the duo are concerned.

Matt Penney is back at Sheffield Wednesday.Matt Penney is back at Sheffield Wednesday.
Matt Penney is back at Sheffield Wednesday.

“They’ve been very good,” Monk said. “I said to both of them that it was an opportunity for those guys to change their future and stamp their authority on things.

“Since I’ve been here, the whole group, it’s been the most competitive it’s been in terms of attitude and commitment. And they’ve been part of that, I’ve been pleased with them.

“There are going to be decisions to be made as we go along, one thing is for sure is that the whole group is going to be needed.”

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There has been talk that Wednesday’s switch to a 3-5-2 wing-back system could stand to bring the best out of 22-year-old Penney, who has played at both left-back and left midfield in his young career.

And having impressed during the club’s Loughborough training camp last week centre-half van Aken produced a solid performance in the 0-0 draw with Leicester on Saturday.

Monk said: “We’ve got a big ask, a big challenge and you can see the way the league is set out this year, there’s a lot of real condensed periods of games. With potential injuries or whatever it may be, there’s going to have to be a squad that has to deal with that.

“Everyone will have their opportunities for sure. Whether they start this first game of not, put it this way, whoever starts against Walsall or Cardiff, they will not be able to play every single game this season. It’s impossible.

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“So it’s obvious that the squad is going to be heavily relied upon. It’s a more reduced squad but it’s about putting them in a position where it’s more competitive and it’s a realistic opportunity to play.

“I don’t want too big a squad where some players are being left out for weeks on end, that’s where players get disillusioned.

“It’s about having a tight enough squad where you can deal with injuries but everyone has a chance of being in that squad or being in the starting 11 any given week. That’s what we’re trying to aim towards.”


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