Dom Howson's Sheffield Wednesday column: Why the future is bright for the Owls under Steve Bruce

It is already shaping up to be a summer of major change at Hillsborough.

Wednesday, 8th May 2019, 2:06 pm
Updated Thursday, 9th May 2019, 4:56 pm

There is plenty of work to be done and manager Steve Bruce is under no illusions at the size of the rebuilding job as he looks to assemble a team capable of challenging for promotion next season.

But Bruce, a vastly-experienced operator at this level, has wasted no time in restructuring his bloated, ageing, unbalanced squad. The Owls confirmed hours after their final-day defeat to Queens Park Rangers that George Boyd, Gary Hooper, Almen Abdi, David Jones, Marco Matias and Daniel Pudil have not been offered fresh terms and will leave the club at the end of their existing deals.

There were some difficult calls for Bruce to make regarding the futures of the out-of-contract players but the four-time promotion winner quickly demonstrated his ruthless edge. It yet again highlig hted that Bruce is not going to shy away from the big decisions.

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Wednesday manager Steve Bruce

I like the fact there was no messing around with the retained list. Given Wednesday are a club going through a period of transition, swift, decisive action was required to let everybody know where they stand.

"The reason why we have let some players go is because we need to bring in some younger players to give us a new freshness," said Bruce. "There were some difficult decisions but it is what the job is. As the manager, you have got to make these decisions. It is what I am paid for.

“It is never easy, especially when it is players who you have enjoyed working with. We have let a lot of good players and they are all smashing lads.

Marco Matias

“However, with the financial situation that is upon us, we have got to choose well and we have to be careful with our recruitment.”

As well as offloading some big earners from their wage bill, Wednesday also sent out a strong message to the rest of the division that they mean business during the close season.

Bruce added: "It has been very, very tough but I feel as though we have to bring down the age group of the players and there is a certain remit of what I am looking for."

Time is of the essence as Bruce aims to put his own stamp on things. Finances, as ever, will determine much of their business.

But it has not taken Bruce long to strike up a good rapport with Wednesdayites. Results have mar kedly improved and he has lifted the mood around the place, winning over a large proportion of his doubters with his charisma, great sense of humour and straight-talking.

The future of the Owls is in safe hands.