Sheffield Wednesday: Steve Bruce pays big compliment to Owls ace Fernando Forestieri
Manager Steve Bruce has lauded Owls star Fernando Forestieri, describing the forward as one of the best players in the Championship.
Injuries have plagued Forestieri in the past two seasons, restricting him to just 26 appearances.
But having recovered from a hamstring problem, Forestieri made his first start in two months in Saturday's battling win over struggling Ipswich Town. The 29-year-old, deployed in the number 10 position, featured prominently before being taken off with four minutes remaining.
Bruce told The Star: "I don't believe that Forestieri is a left hand sided player. He is off the front and a bit of a free spirit.
"I know he is going to be hard work but I like him. He has got a bit of devil in him. He's a good footballer and if we can get him smiling again and keep him fit then, for me, he's as good a player as there is in the Championship."
The only thing that let Forestieri down at Portman Road was his finishing. The former Watford man planted a free header over the bar in the first half and uncharacteristically blazed over when one on one with goalkeeper goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski in the second period.
"He has had a lot of problems with injuries,” said Bruce. “He had an ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) and a horrible couple of hamstring injuries.
"It was good to see him back at Ipswich. I thought he showed glimpses of what a good player he is. He missed a few chances but on another day could have scored. He will only get better."
Fellow striker Lucas Joao stepped up off the bench to grab a late goal and ensure Bruce kicked off his Owls reign with a win.
"It is always nice when you make a sub and the guy comes on and scores," admitted Bruce. "Lucas was somebody we looked at a lot at Aston Villa. The kid has got a talent.
"But I thought [Steven] Fletcher in the first half against Ipswich and in the Wigan game was excellent. A bit of competition doesn't harm anybody."