Jos Luhukay opens up on Sheffield Wednesday’s ‘old team’

Sheffield Wednesday boss Jos Luhukay
Sheffield Wednesday boss Jos Luhukay
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Under-pressure Sheffield Wednesday manager Jos Luhukay has vowed to keep reducing the average age of his Owls squad.

Luhukay has shifted plenty of their old guard out of the team in recent months, including Keiren Westwood, Sam Hutchinson, George Boyd, David Jones and Almen Abdi.

The Dutchman, whose Wednesday side host Norwich City on Saturday aiming to avoid a fourth successive Championship defeat, has focused on young, emerging talent, promoting a host of players from the academy.

A crippling injury list has partly forced Luhukay's hand, with Fernando Forestieri, Marco Matias, Sam Winnall, Kieran Lee and Gary Hooper all on the sidelines.

The curious case of Sam Hutchinson

"From January until now, we must always think about players who are injured," Luhukay told the Star.

"We have an old team and when the players get injured they probably take more time to come back. There is nothing the players can do about that.

"The reality is we have a squad with players who were injured last season but also now.

"When you have an intensive programme and play three games in a week, we must see who can play.

"It is why in the last months I have changed players. It is not because I like to do that but I must see how the players are physically.

"When the physical side is a risk, we must change. It is not that I like to change. We must change when the risk of a player getting injured again in the next game is high.

"Our medical team and sports science team give me everything every day.

"The reality is we have to sometimes make decision on whether players can play or not.

"I know outside that (people) sometimes do not understand decisions but that is why I don't always give explanations for my changes.

"For one player it maybe tactical situation. For one it maybe in the formation we play in or that the player who has played in the game before or two games before is physically in a risk situation.

"So then we must protect him from maybe getting injured again."

The average age of Luhukay's starting XI has been in the mid-20s this season.

Asked if the squad is too old, Luhukay replied: "Yeah, but that is not new.

"When I came, we had an old squad with all the players and that has not changed."

His priority remains to carry on bringing in and developing young players.

"That has been the aim from the beginning," added Luhukay.

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