Jordan Rhodes is at a crossroads in his career: Chris Holt’s Sheffield Wednesday Column

Jordan Rhodes on his Owls debut at Wigan.....Pic Steve Ellis
Jordan Rhodes on his Owls debut at Wigan.....Pic Steve Ellis
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A year ago just passed, the wishes of a sizable number of Sheffield Wednesday fans were granted.

The venue was the DW Stadium, on a cold Friday night in February only livened by the sound of The Supremes before kick off and a fortuitous goal from Ross Wallace, which secured a win for Sheffield Wednesday over Wigan.

Winning the header which set-up the Scot for that decider was the man Wednesdayites had prayed they’d one day seen in an Owls shirt.

A little over a week later, back at Hillsborough, that man scored his first goal in an emphatic a 3-0 victory over Birmingham City.

It was supposed to be the dawn of greatness, where goals would be in abundance and the fee spent to bring him to South Yorkshire would be seen as money well spent while fulfilling the ambition of making Wednesday, once again, a Premier League club. Alas, the dream has turned into a nightmare for Jordan Rhodes.

The goals haven’t been anywhere near frequent enough and where once the will of supporters who dearly wanted him to succeed brought about excuses that the team weren’t playing to his strengths, it has become apparent that frankly, Rhodes hasn’t been good enough.

That lack of finding the net meant the Scotland international was at times a peripheral figure under Carlos Carvalhal, but when not in the starting line-up he was all but guaranteed at least a place on the bench. A goalscoring record at this level that few can match, meant that the ex-boss couldn’t possibly leave him out completely.

Jos Luhukay, the new man in charge, is not swayed by reputation, it would seem.

Last week, in the 3-1 defeat to Birmingham City, despite the fact that Wednesday crippled injury - to attacking players in particular - Rhodes wasn’t even named on the bench.

Starting up front, Atdhe Nuhiu; a player, as popular a figure he may be, whose ability most believed had been dwarfed by the ballooning of the club’s fresh ambition and who could and probably should have been moved on quite some time ago.

It’s telling that Rhodes - with a cost of close to £1 million per goal since joining a year ago - should be at home twiddling his thumbs, while a Kosovo international with a record of a goal every six-and-a-half games leads the line.

Rhodes hasn’t helped himself. His failure to step up and take a penalty in last season’s play-off semi-final didn’t go down well in some quarters and the ‘he doesn’t get the service’ line’ died amid a series of clear opportunities in front of goal that were spurned.

Now he has less than half a season to try and reclaim his reputation as a goalscorer that defences fear.

Otherwise he’ll simply be remembered as a very expensive, goal-shy striker.

It doesn’t help that 50 miles away, Sam Winnall, another scorer on the night Rhodes opened his Wednesday account, has been doing just fine during his loan spell from Wednesday at Derby County.

Ask 100 Owls fans who they’d rather be playing up front for the remainder of the season and it’s a safe bet that the majority wouldn’t be picking Rhodes.

His Owls career certainly isn’t finished for good - a big contract and a hefty salary will put off anyone who feels they can reignite the goalscoring fire - but if he wants to ensure that he doesn’t see out his time at Hillsborough as a forgotten man, then any opportunity has to be seized.

Rhodes was brought in to score the goals that would take Wednesday to the top flight. If he scores the goals that might stave off a relegation fight, then there may in the end be some justification for the move.