Sheffield Wednesday loanee Achraf Lazaar is a man on a mission

It was in a corridor just outside the away dressing room at Bramall Lane where Achraf Lazaar gave his first interview since moving to Hillsborough.

Thursday, 21st February 2019, 16:53 pm
Updated Thursday, 21st February 2019, 16:57 pm
Achraf Lazaar could make his Sheffield Wednesday debut on Saturday

The left-sided player, signed on deadline-day from Newcastle United, produced an eye-catching performance as the Owls Under-23s beat Sheffield United 2-0 on Tuesday evening.

Lazaar, on loan from the Magpies until the end of the season, played 74 minutes of the development match.

It is fair to say Lazaar made a good first impression. He stood out with his energy, athleticism and ability on the ball.

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He almost capped a fine display by netting a third but his spectacular left foot strike from long range struck the post.

It is early days in his Owls career but Lazaar, a friendly, bubbly personality, is enjoying life on and off the pitch.

"I like Sheffield," he told The Star. "My wife and family like it here.

Achraf Lazaar could make his Sheffield Wednesday debut on Saturday

"We just trying to find a house at the moment.

"I'm so happy to be here. It is an opportunity to show what I can do. Everything is positive.

“I have to go step by step to be in the top level."

Lazaar impressed on Owls Under-23s duty in midweek

Asked what persuaded him to join Wednesday, Lazaar said: "I talked to my agent and I looked at what was the best choice for me.

"I didn't think about other offers. I think Sheffield Wednesday was the perfect choice and and I'm so happy here.

"I think I'm in the right team. The group is hard-working and we hope to have some big results.

"My team-mates and the manager have helped me a lot.

"It feels like home already. It is great to be here.

“I am going to give everything for the shirt because this club has given me the chance.”

The Morocco international is determined to rebuild his career at the Owls, having endured a frustrating season. Lazaar, frozen out of Newcastle's first-team picture, has spent the majority of the campaign training at the club's academy, playing a handful of matches for the Magpies second-string side.

He said: "I was playing in the home games in the U23s to keep my fitness high.

"I am fit, I feel good and I want to keep getting better and better."

The 27-year-old is under contract at Newcastle until the summer of 2021.

"I always think about the present," said Lazaar. "I never think about tomorrow.

"I just live my life and football in the present.

"I'm not focused on the future.

"I am happy at Sheffield Wednesday. They have given me a chance. When someone gives you a chance, you want to repay them."

Three weeks after completing his temporary switch, Lazaar is still waiting to make his Wednesday senior debut. He has been an unused substitute in the last three outings as manager Steve Bruce has tried to keep defensive changes to a minimum.

Bruce was sat in the directors' box alongside assistant manager Steve Agnew for the U23s Sheffield derby and Lazaar hopes his performance has given him a selection dilemma ahead of Swansea City this weekend.

He said: "It is my passion to play football.

"Every time you have the chance to go onto the pitch, even in training, you have to do your work to the best you can.

“Whether it’s in the first team, U23s or training, I will give 100 per cent.

“You have to give it everything because a lot of people would want to be in my position but I am happy to have this chance with Sheffield Wednesday.

"I hope the Wednesday fans can see me soon but I will just keep working hard and do my job.

"I am ready when the manager needs me. He (Bruce) is a great manager and I can learn from him.

“When the manager needs me, I have to do my job. I am ready to give everything for the team.”

Bruce will have to make a number of changes to his starting XI following their below-par showing at Rotherham United last weekend. Fernando Forestieri is set to serve a one-match suspension while Jordan Thorniley is a major doubt after suffering concussion . Defender Tom Lees is fit again, having shrugged off a shin problem. Rolando Aarons and Steven Fletcher are also pushing for starts.