The numbers behind 23 minutes that showed a glimpse of what new boy Alessio Da Cruz can offer Sheffield Wednesday

A change of pace, a drop of the shoulder and an eye for a pass – though Alessio Da Cruz was unable to contribute to a broken deadlock in Sheffield Wednesday’s goalless draw with Millwall on Saturday, his substitute cameo did perhaps offer a sneak peek at what Owls fans can expect from him this season.

Monday, 3rd February 2020, 5:00 pm
Updated Monday, 3rd February 2020, 5:00 pm

The numbers behind the performance are far from staggering – any 23-minute cameo in a dour goalless draw is unlikely to break records after all – but his energy and runs off the shoulder of defenders changed the image of the Wednesday attack along with a similarly eye-catching cameo from Fernando Forestieri.

His solitary long-range pass, which released Liam Palmer down the right-hand side into space on 81 minutes, was perhaps his most eye-catching moment and produced the clearest insight into his state of mind with ball at feet.

Many less confident players would have sought to drop the ball off for a simple, five-metre pass to Barry Bannan and made his way into the box, but Da Cruz chose to turn, drive across the Millwall defence and curl ambitiously into the full-back’s path.

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It was a moment that peeled Wednesday fans from their seats in what was otherwise a largely uninspiring Owls performance going forward.

Da Cruz, 23, received the ball seven times and possesses impressive ball retention statistics across his career. He completed 83.3 per cent of his passes, five of which came short in the attacking third.

His one shot at goal, released from an acute angle from the left-hand side after Forestieri had found him entering the Lions box, had an xG rating of 0.05, meaning one in every 200 shots from that scenario would find the back of the net.

With two Millwall defenders bearing down on him it should have earned his side a corner but for the judgement of referee David Coote, who signalled for a goal kick.

Sheffield Wednesday new boy Alessio Da Cruz impressed on his Owls debut.

In football, though, only one statistics truly matters and that is points on the board. Alessio Da Cruz will hope his wares will put points on the board for Sheffield Wednesday in the coming weeks.