The hugely important role played by Barry Bannan and Steven Fletcher at Sheffield Wednesday

It's often argued that there's a selfish streak amongst modern day footballers; an 'I'm alright, Jack' approach whereby an emphasis is placed only on their own personal form and circumstances rather than that of the team's.

Friday, 28th February 2020, 4:22 pm

Sheffield Wednesday boss Garry Monk, while possibly believing that's a sweeping generalisation, has accepted leadership roles in changing rooms have diluted in modern times.

That's why he has been so impressed by what he has seen, heard and read from the likes of Barry Bannan and Steven Fletcher over the course of the last week as the Owls brought an end to their horrible run of form with four points from two games against Birmingham and Charlton.

And Monk will continue to look towards such as the Scottish pair as he looks to push a previously confidence-sapped Wednesday back up the table.

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Key Sheffield Wednesday pair Barry Bannan and Steven Fletcher

"Senior players are massively important; players like Barry and Fletch, the experience they have, the kind of standing in the changing room, it's important that they use that influence in the right way," said Monk ahead of Saturday's visit of Derby County.

"They've done that and I think they've understood that and grown into that a bit more and that's what you want. You want leadership. It can't just come from myself or the staff, it has to come from within as well.

"That's something in football that's changed a lot. There isn't as many, there's more of a reluctance towards that.

"I spoke to the players, I think there's a culture where everyone wants to be liked all the time, that's their main priority, whereas when it comes to the critical moments where we could be best friends but we need to fall out in that moment to get the best out of you and get the best out of me, you have to be able to do that.

Owls boss Garry Monk with striker Steven Fletcher Pic Steve Ellis

"That comes from leadership, so I try to encourage that all the way and slowly but surely I think more and more are getting to grips with that and showing that themselves."Both Bannan and Fletcher have been vocal in their backing of Monk in the past week as the manager had come under pressure following a string of poor performances and results.

“It's great they say those words, of course, but you would like to think that's what you would do anyway as your job, you try and help these guys and build that relationship with all of them,” Monk said.

“It can be difficult, relationships, at times because you have to make difficult decisions but if you can earn the respect of the group, that's what I have always thought.

“If you can earn their respect, the respect comes from honesty, if you are very straight with players and they can see you are trying to help them and are very honest with them they will always respect you. They don't have to like every decision that you make.”