Former Sheffield Wednesday defender: Steve Bruce needs to sign leaders

Former Sheffield Wednesday centre-half Jon Newsome has encouraged Steve Bruce to add ‘defenders with proper leadership qualities’ to his squad ahead of the upcoming season.

By Alex Miller
Tuesday, 25th June 2019, 3:21 pm
Updated Tuesday, 25th June 2019, 8:28 pm

Newsome, 48, who made 63 appearances across two spells at Hillsborough, believes shoring up the Wednesday defence should be a priority and that the club have every chance of challenging for promotion from the Championship if they are able to do so.

The club are heavily linked with the signing of 28-year-old Julian Börner from German second division side Arminia Bielefeld, and are expected to announce his transfer once the club’s ‘soft transfer embargo’ is lifted.

The German is expected to partner skipper Tom Lees in the heart of the Owls defence this season.

Jon Newsome makes his presence felt in amongst the Liverpool defence

Speaking to The Star, Newsome admitted he sees the signing of Börner – captain at his previous club - as a risk, and hopes to see the club invest in a defender with Championship experience.

“It’s a gamble,” he said, “footballers know how hard it is to settle in a new club or new city. For a lad from the German second division to be dropped in the middle of Sheffield – it will be tough for him.

“They’ve tried it in the past and it’s not gone well – that’s not to say that will happen again, but to be honest I’d like to see us sign someone with more experience in England.

“Wednesday fans might not like me saying it, but you only have to look across the city at how they’ve done it with the squad they’ve got.”

Newsome, who went on to win a First Division championship title with Leeds United before captaining Norwich City and then finishing his career with the Owls, said how important it is that this transfer window is a successful one for his beloved Wednesday.

“It’s a massive window. The recruitment hasn’t been good enough in the past two or three years and we haven’t been able to kick on as we should’ve done,” he said.

“Bruce is his own man with such a brilliant reputation within football. He gets his players to go out and do a job.

“But we’ve missed that leader – that player who is like a another manager on the field and organises everyone – we’ve missed it since Glenn Loovens left, he wasn’t particularly vocal but he sorted things out at the back and he had that experience.

“Good, old-fashioned defending is a dying art. Someone like that is worth their weight in gold.”