How Lucas Joao can earn an international recall

Lucas Joao has bagged five goals in nine Owls appearances this season
Lucas Joao has bagged five goals in nine Owls appearances this season

Sheffield Wednesday forward Lucas Joao has been challenged to maintain his superb goal-scoring form and earn an international recall.

Joao, who is in contention to spearhead the Owls' attack when they entertain Middlesbrough this evening, won the last of his two Portugal caps nearly three years ago.

But the 25-year-old has been a key figure in Wednesday's rise up the Championship table, hitting five goals in nine appearances this season.

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Owls manager Jos Luhukay said: "It is the highest level that you can reach as a player when you play for your national team.

"When Lucas plays every game for us and he is consistent with his own play, then maybe he will have a chance in the future.

"I would be very proud of Lucas if he gets back into the national team but first he must play for Sheffield Wednesday at a very high level.

"He must make the difference not in a couple of a games. If he makes in the next months many times the difference with goals and assists, you come into the spotlight.

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"It has maybe taken Lucas a bit of time to be successful to come into the spotlight but maybe he gets back into the national team in the future."

Joao's Wednesday career has been up and down. He struggled to command a regular starting spot under previous boss Carlos Carvalhal and spent time on loan at Blackburn Rovers in 2017.

But the former Nacional player has featured prominently throughout Luhukay's nine-month reign.

Luhukay said: "He is an important player for us.

"Lucas is a very positive guy. He lives from day to day and is always smiling. He is never angry or negative.

"Lucas is a very positive type in the team. He likes playing here and he feels good with the team."