Owls fans column: The curious case of Atdhe Nuhiu

Atdhe Nuhiu
Atdhe Nuhiu
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“Who is that big player you’ve got up front?” My boyfriend asked me after the Charlton game at Hillsborough last season. “Is he actually a footballer?”

After watching the most woeful performance Atdhe Nuhiu had ever had in a Wednesday shirt, I was beginning to question whether he was another one of George Weah’s cousins.

I mean, who stands at the far post and attempts a glancing header across goal?

Big Dave, although he doesn’t like the name, divides opinion like no other player at the club.

The problem I think stems from how he is labeled.

Nuhiu is a striker but is he?

Carlos Carvalhal said after the Oxford United Capital One cup game that Nuhiu isn’t a “killer striker but he is important to us.” Labeling him a striker does him an injustice.

‘Striker’ conjures the image of a prolific goal scorer.

Nuhiu is never going to be that player and without plenty of goals he’s always going to be labeled as rubbish by some.

Maybe he’s more of a goal scoring midfielder. Maybe he’s a false nine. Maybe he’s just indefinable.

It’s hard to put your finger on what he does bring to the game but statistically Wednesday do better when he is in the team.

Allegedly we score more and concede fewer goals with him in the team.

As last season’s top scorer it’s also difficult to completely label him as rubbish.

He is very unselfish in his play. Playing the ball to his feet instead of his head is more productive.

He’s less of an Andy Booth and more of Peter Crouch type player.

Whatever Nuhiu brings to the game, Carvalhal seems to appreciate it, whether some of us believe he’s a footballer or not.