Jos Luhukay denies rift with Sheffield Wednesday players

Sheffield Wednesday boss Jos Luhukay
Sheffield Wednesday boss Jos Luhukay
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Manager Jos Luhukay has denied any fallout between him and a host of Wednesday's senior players.

Midfield quartet Sam Hutchinson, George Boyd, David Jones and Almen Abdi have hardly played this season while Keiren Westwood has slipped from the club's No 1 goalkeeper to third choice.

Keiren Westwood has not played this season

Keiren Westwood has not played this season

Luhukay's decision to not select Westwood and Hutchinson, who are big fans favourites, has particularly angered a large section of the Owls' faithful.

Both Westwood and Hutchinson were key figures in Wednesday reaching back-to-back play-offs in the 2015/16 and 2016/17 seasons.

Luhukay said: "I have never had a problem with these players. There is no situation where we have a problem between them.

"We have made decisions. They have not played enough minutes or games in the last 10 months, and we need in the Championship players who have the shape and physical side who available for every training (session) and every game. That is why we make these decisions. You must have respect for that."

Sam Hutchinson has been frozen out at Sheffield Wednesday

Sam Hutchinson has been frozen out at Sheffield Wednesday

Speaking to the press corps today, Luhukay also rubbished talk of him leaving out players due to contractual reasons.

When asked if chairman Dejphon Chansiri has blocked him from playing any of the experienced pros, Luhukay said: "Absolutely not."

The Dutchman has shifted out the old guard and promoted several academy players, including Matt Penney, Jordan Thorniley, Ash Baker and Fraser Preston.

"We have experienced players in the team, enough I think," he said. "We must have respect for the players who play.

"It is not a personal situation. We like every player in the team, but we have to make decisions and we stay behind that.

"You never know what the future is bringing, and when we have players in our squad who can help us, then we do it.

"But at this moment, we have a lot of experienced players in the team. Also, you need young players who have the dynamic, for example Matt Penney.

"We need young players who give the team spirit and dynamic."

Luhukay, who says Fernando Forestieri and Marco Matias (both hamstring) will miss next week’s Steel City derby, has not ruled out the possibility of Hutchinson and company forcing their way back into his plans.

"You never know what will happen in the next weeks and months," he said. "These players are in the squad.

"At this moment they are not in the (match) squad, but you never know what the situation will be.

"But we have enough experienced players in the team and they must take responsibility.

"In defence, midfield and the strikers we have experience, Premier League players in the team.

"But you cannot play with 11 players where they are all older than 30. This team need a good balance and mix between older and younger players.

"This is a team for the future and gives the team a good direction."

So would Luhukay consider letting any of the out-of-favour players go in January?

He said: "I don’t know, we will see.

"These players have signed contracts for Sheffield Wednesday. In football you have periods where you play, and when you don’t.

"You must respect that. We have respect for the players and hopefully the players have respect for the job.

"I will not speak about January or next summer. The focus must be not too much about on the players who are not playing, we must have the focus on the players who play Saturday."