How close Sheffield Wednesday came to recalling Matt Penney in January and why he has a future at Hillsborough

Sheffield Wednesday came close recalling homegrown youngster Matt Penney from his loan at German second tier side St Pauli in January, preferring him to continue his development abroad.

Friday, 14th February 2020, 11:45 am
Updated Friday, 14th February 2020, 2:24 pm

Owls boss Garry Monk confirmed the 21-year-old would be given the chance to prove himself in the coming months and that he fits the profile of player he wants to feature going forward.

The 21-year-old has played 10 games this season at St Pauli – under the tutelage of former Owls boss Jos Luhukay – having missed six weeks with a torn calf.

Penney’s current contract runs out this summer. He returned to Sheffield during the ‘winter break’ in Germany and trained with the first team, giving Garry Monk his first look at the youngster.

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And Monk confirmed serious consideration was given to recalling him from his time abroad.

He said: “The plan was to have a good look at him but unfortunately when he came back he picked up a slight injury in that time.

“He was probably only in training for three or four days before we had to give a decision on whether he goes back or not, so that wasn’t long enough to really see him.

“I’ve seen Matt before, but four days isn’t enough to judge whether he can help right here and right now.

Sheffield Wednesday youngster Matt Penney will get a chance to prove himself at the club under Garry Monk.

“Plus there’s the fact that is he’s out there playing regularly, out of his comfort zone, in another country – I like that. I like that experience and I didn’t want to take that experience away from him.”

Asked about Penney’s future at the club, Monk suggested he will get every opportunity to stake a claim in the club’s future, with sweeping changes expected in the coming months.

The left-sided defender is one of several Wednesday players approaching the end of their contracts, with of those only Morgan Fox the only one known to be in negotiations with the club.

“He’s someone that come the summer, we want to have a good look and give him the opportunity to show what he can do,” he said.

“It could be potentially a good fit. The age is good, the mentality is good, the profile for him is really, really good.”

The Wednesday manager is pleased Penney followed a modern trend of English youngsters cutting their teeth in foreign leagues and hinted at his belief that Penney would return a better player.

The manager said: “Off the back of a season’s experience out of his comfort zone, we could be dealing with a totally different player to the one that left. That excites me.

“I spoke to Matt about that an the plans for him. I didn’t want to take that [the experience of playing abroad] away without the certainty of whether he was going to play here or not.

“I wanted him to continue that experience, come back this summer an hopefully we’ll have a different player to the one that left – not that he was a bad player before of course – he’ll be a better player!”