‘My mentality…’ - Sheffield Wednesday’s Jaden Brown bides time, but needs to play to improve

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Jaden Brown hasn’t played that much at Sheffield Wednesday yet, but he’s got age on his side as he bides his time for a valued place in the starting XI.

Over three years have passed since Brown made his league debut, playing 90 minutes for Exeter City during a loan spell down south, and it possible that some people forget that he’s still a young man.

Brown, who only turned 23 this year, hasn’t had an easy ride since joining the Owls. To date he’s played 18 times and only completed 90 minutes on eight occasions, but despite that he says that he’ll never stop working – never stop trying to force his way in.

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“It’s about my mentality…” he said after his rocket opened the scoring in the 2-0 win over Rochdale in the Carabao Cup. “When you’re not playing it is tough, but if my mind is right and I keep working had then there will be a chance. And when I get it then it’s like second nature getting out there on the pitch. All I have to do is work hard, and get a bit of luck as well.

“As a footballer you train all week to play at the weekend, so it has been quite frustrating, but sometimes that is life – and it’s football as well. Nobody is going to say I’m going to play the next game, or the next week, but you have to still work hard – even just for myself. If I know I’m doing that then I can rest easy and sleep well at night.”

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It’s the sort of attitude that Darren Moore will appreciate. And he’s certainly taking what chances he’s being given this time around.

He impressed in the 2-0 win over Sunderland, excelled against the Dale, and it’s his all-round game that has stood out, too. He made it into the Carabao Cup Team of the Round this month for his efforts.

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Jaden Brown is still work hard to score a place in Darren Moore's starting XI at Sheffield Wednesday.Jaden Brown is still work hard to score a place in Darren Moore's starting XI at Sheffield Wednesday.
Jaden Brown is still work hard to score a place in Darren Moore's starting XI at Sheffield Wednesday.

It’s not just that he arrowed a beauty into the top corner at Hillsborough – though he admits that that was nice.

“It’s a great feeling,” he told The Star. “Obviously it was my first goal for the club, and I got it at home. You practice these things in training, and after sessions, sometimes it doesn’t come off. But to have that one come off, I’m absolutely delighted to be fair.”

At 23 he wants to be playing, he wants to be making an impact on a weekly basis, but Brown knows all about the quality in this current and explained that as long as his manager stays honest with him, then he’s happy to bide his time.

He went on to say, “I respect the gaffer, he’s very honest with me. He tells me what I need to do better, and what I need to improve on – that’s the only information I want to know really. When you’re not playing and a manager doesn’t tell you things you can be a bit confused, but he’s very honest and he credits me when it’s the time.

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“At the age of 23 I want to be playing every week, I feel like it’s a good age, and when I play games I can improve – it’s the only way you improve. I would say that I’m still quite young, but I’ve still got a long way to go, still a lot of improvement to do, but of course I want to be playing every week.”

And that’s something that won’t be easy.

Moore has been pleased with the defender’s development at Hillsborough since coming on board, but has thrown down the gauntlet as he seeks even more improvement from him.

“Jaden is waiting for an opportunity in terms of the league,” his boss has said. “We see no problem with him, and he has got to stay where he is at. He has to keep getting better.

“If he continues to play like that, I'm sure the opportunity to step into the league won't be too far away. Even now I wouldn't hesitate to put him in because he has shown enough to showcase he has improved since his arrival here. There is more maturity about his play and he can feel pleased.”

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For Brown to break into that starting XI, though, he’s got to get past the experienced Marvin Johnson and exciting loanee, Reece James. They’re two players that would start at most League One clubs, and while the former Huddersfield Town man acknowledges that it won’t be easy, he’s insistent that the competition within the current Wednesday group is good for everyone.

“Last season we had a good squad,” he says. “But this season I think it’s stronger. If you look at our starting XI it’s still strong, and our bench is even stronger. It’s competition, healthy competition. When players are starting they know they have to play well, and in the end that can only work out well for the team.

“If you look at our first five games, it’s been tough. I feel like we’ve started well, obviously we’ve got one loss, but we’re into the third round of the cup and have played good teams in the league, so as a team we’ve done well. Clean sheets, too. So it’s a good start, but we can’t take our foot off the gas, and we have to keep going.”

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