Sheffield Wednesday first team coach Lee Bullen has spoken of how Adam Reach has stepped out of the shadows of some of his teammates to become one of the Owls’ main men.
Reach’s performances this season saw him named Wednesday’s Player of the Year at The Star Football Awards on Monday evening, and he is expected to add the club award to that honour this week.
It comes off the back of a campaign in which the versatile former Middlesbrough man stepped up in the absence, through injury, of some hugely influential players and turned in consistently impressive displays across a number of positions.
Asked what made Reach a worthy award winner Bullen, who made the 25-year-old his captain during an interim spell in charge, said: “Consistency, high standard of performances, dedication to his training and pushing himself to get better and better every time.
“It’s well documented that we’ve missed a heck of a lot of the squad through injury this season and I mentioned when Adam got the award that we needed someone to lead the team. We needed someone to step up to the plate and be a go-to person on the pitch and I think Adam took that on his shoulders and did it really well.
“Even though we went through a hard time with results, the one consistent aspect of everything was the standard that Adam was playing at - win, lose or draw he was the one that stood out, wanted the ball even in times of need.”
This is Reach’s second season at Hillsborough and Bullen admits it took a little time for the midfielder to show his worth, perhaps due to stepping up from a loan spell at Preston.
“We’ve needed to rely on him and I think he’s taken that on and relished the opportunity to be the go-to guy,” added Bullen.
“When he first came in he had been at Middlesbrough and gone on loan to Preston and done really well.
“No disrespect to Preston but they are a slightly smaller club than Wednesday and with the players he is playing with here - your Bannans, Forestieris, Hoopers, players like that - he was almost at a point where he had to r-prove himself to these types of players.
“Maybe he was in their shadow a little bit but with injuries he had to become the main man. Slowly but surely he began to relish that and with that his confidence grew. Now he is almost the first name on the teamsheet with regard to appearances and performances.”