Focus on Jordan Rhodes: How the striker showed against Hull City glimpses of what Sheffield Wednesday initially paid all that money for

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It was just one performance, in among a great big load of abject ones, but Jordan Rhodes deserves a huge amount of credit for his showing for Sheffield Wednesday against Hull City.

Too often this season when the now maligned Rhodes has managed to find a place in the team, some fans would continue to fire out the 'give him the service and he'll score' line of argument, when really he had been getting the service and missing too many easy chances.

Jordan Rhodes celebrates what would be the winning goal against Hull City

Jordan Rhodes celebrates what would be the winning goal against Hull City

It's hard to imagine those supporters even believed it themselves, they just wanted it to be the case and made excuses for a man whose signing has been a massive disappointment almost from the start.

The biggest problem facing Wednesday when it comes to their very costly striker, is that when he's not scoring, he's not doing much else. Compared to, for example Atdhe Nuhiu or Lucas Joao, Rhodes won't give defenders anywhere near as many problems, for differing reasons. He's not as quick as Joao and he's not NORMALLY as physical as Nuhiu.

That final criticism couldn't be aimed at him after his matchwinning display at the KCOM.

The 1-0 victory over the Tigers was very much a team effort, borne from doggedness in defence and midfield but the goal came from Rhodes who certainly didn't shirk the responsibility of hard work himself.

Sheffield Wednesday players with Jordan Rhodes after his goal against Hull City

Sheffield Wednesday players with Jordan Rhodes after his goal against Hull City

And that was really what was most impressive about his day in East Yorkshire.

Right from kick-off Rhodes was up for this game; he was bustling, annoying (from a defender's perspective), he won cheap free kicks, won as many headers in his own box as he did in the opposition's and generally made a nuisance of himself.

The striker was involved in Wednesday's first clear opportunity, getting on the end of an excellent Adam Reach cross from the left. Such was the manner of the delivery, floated towards the back post, Rhodes had to generate most of the power in the header himself and while he couldn't quite do that, he did at least force Allan McGregor into a save.

The hard work continued and then later in the half, his time from the right Jack Hunt's cross was knocked in superbly for his first goal since Boxing day and his sixth of the season in total.

Rhodes would run himself into the ground, making defenders work, holding the ball up, winning free kicks to alleviate the pressure that Hull would continue to put Wednesday under, particularly in the second half.

And his movement was excellent. Early in the second half he pulled Hull's central defence in before making a final darting run to the front post where his diving header just failed to find the net.

Jos Luhukay said of Rhodes: "Of course for Jordan personally it was very important and for us as a team today it was the winning goal. I am happy of course for Jordan and also my whole team."

It was surprising that the 28 year old managed to make it to the 86th minute but it was then that he was taken off, limping and with the look of a man who had given his all and finally shown what he really is capable of. Wednesday's traveling army of fans saluted the day's hero over in the far corner.

It was just one game. Just one good performance that won't cancel out the very, very poor ones that preceded it but it was much more like the Jordan Rhodes that Owls fans thought they were getting.

It's a bit late to make a real impact, but a few more like that in the last few games and the optimism levels can rise a little at least.


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