New boy Kadeem Harris busy proving he could be the missing link for Sheffield Wednesday
Sheffield Wednesday winger Kadeem Harris will be central to the club’s attempts to push for a play-off place this season, as long as caretaker manager Lee Bullen is at the wheel.
The 26-year-old, who arrived at the club on a free transfer from Cardiff City this summer to much excitement from the Hillsborough faithful, followed up a string of exciting pre-season displays with a goalscoring senior debut in which he terrified the Royals’ defence every time he touched the ball.
The first 45 minutes came and went with Harris at the centre of everything good for Wednesday. Direct and lightning quick, he provided six successful dribbles and an impetus in attack rarely seen in blue and white since the departure of Michail Antonio in 2014.
And while he tired a touch in the second half, eventually replaced late on in the second half by Fernando Forestieri, the statement was clear – Kadeem Harris, reduced to impact appearances from the bench for much of his career to date – will play a big role for Sheffield Wednesday this season.
It was a debut that impressed Bullen, who intimated Harris’ importance to the style of play he wishes to implement at Hillsborough.
The Scot said: “Kadeem was excellent, especially first half. It is exactly what we have been missing. We want to play an open and expansive game.
“To have wingers with that explosive speed down one side and Adam with his quality and ability down the other, that is very good.
“Then, you turn around and see what we have on the bench, we are in a lucky position.”
Speaking earlier in the week, Harris acknowledged the opportunity he has in front of him.
“This is a massive chance,” he said. “That is what I have wanted to do my whole career. I have the opportunity now and it is up to me. I am confident I can do that.”
“I have been told that in recent years the club did not have a player like myself, who is quick and very direct. That is a massive confidence boost for me.
“Now, it is in my hands to perform and provide goals and assists. The team has a great balance. A bit of everything now. We have got great technical players and now the likes of me, Dom (Iorfa) and Moses who can add that injection of pace. It is a great balance.”
Harris had the beating of opposite man Andy Yiadom all afternoon and Bullen – who played in defence for much of his career – sympathised with the task of full-backs faced with the prospect of stopping him this season.
“I know how difficult it is against pace,” he said. “Do you get tight? But then the ball goes over the top of you. Do you give him a couple of yards? It is very, very difficult.
“If I am playing against someone like Kadeem, I am taking a yellow card in the first ten minutes by leaving a little bit of a straightener on him. Just to let him know I am in the game. And then walking on eggshells after that.”