Michael Smith’s ‘honest conversation’ that shut down talk of move from Sheffield Wednesday to Derby County

A mooted move away from Sheffield Wednesday was never much of a consideration for last season’s top scorer Michael Smith once he held talks with new manager Xisco.

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The Star reported in the summer that a loan bid by Derby County to take the 31-year-old back to League One and to his old Rotherham United manager Paul Warne had been tabled and swiftly rejected by the Owls.

Smith is believed to have two years remaining on his Wednesday contract and after a meeting with Xisco to ascertain his place in the Spaniard’s thinking never had any thoughts of the switch coming to fruition.

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Having swapped Rotherham for Wednesday in the summer of 2022, taking a dip from a promoted team back to the third tier, he said he was fully focused on life in the Championship in blue and white.

“I’d had an honest conversation early on in the window and he [Xisco] said he wanted me here and saw me in his plans,” Smith said.

“That shut down anything, especially in my head, to suggest I’d be moving on.

“I was desperate to stay here, getting promoted with the club I was desperate to give the Championship another crack and do it with Wednesday.

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“These conversations need to be had on both sides. It’s nice to get an understanding of how you fit into a manager’s plans and his view on things. You can be honest with him about where you’re struggling and where you might need extra help.

“Obviously it was a big turnaround with the previous manager leaving and a new manager coming in.

“It’s good to have these conversations.”

Interest from Derby is udnerstood to have ended with Wednesday’s rejection of that speculative loan bid as they moved on to other targets.

Having not started any of Wednesday’s first three league matches with illness playing a part, the Geordie forward has been named in the last two starting line-ups. Smith has opened his account for the season, scoring from the bench in defeat at Hull City.

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He suggested he was never in much doubt as to where he’d be playing his football this season.

“With one of my previous managers being at the club and having worked with him before, I think the link was always going to be there,” he said on Derby’s interest.

“It’s one of those things as a footballer, every window comes around and you could be gone or you could be staying, it’s just one of those things.”