Popular Sheffield Wednesday man reveals reason for major improvement as he proves point to Portsmouth

There was a time not long into George Byers’ Sheffield Wednesday career in which many Owls fans were sceptical.

Friday, 20th May 2022, 3:00 pm

The former Swansea City youngster, brought in on a well-negotiated no-fee transfer from the South Wales club, had started with mixed success and four appearances into his time in South Yorkshire he got injured.

Between mid-September and the start of February, even with fellow midfield man Massimo Luongo on the sidelines, Byers played only 55 minutes of League One football.

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George Byers was an impressive performer for Sheffield Wednesday this season.

It’s unknown whether, had Lewis Wing not been hurriedly swiped away from Wednesday by Wycombe Wanderers on January deadline day, the slick-haired 25-year-old would have played against Morecambe on February 1.

He did, he scored, Fisayo Dele-Bashiru got injured and the fated ‘midfield three’ of Byers, Luongo and talisman Barry Bannan was formed. It was a three-pronged partnership that went some way to inspiring the form that took the Owls to a fourth-place finish.

Each of Byers’ six League One goals came in that hugely impressive second half of the campaign.

“I got myself in a place where I was injury-free, I felt fitter than at the start of the season,” Byers told The Star while reflecting on his season.

“It was just about getting myself and my body in a better place and I managed to do that in the second half of the season.”

Byers arrived at Wednesday with much to prove. He said so in his opening conversations with the media. Injuries had hurt his career, Swansea had shunted him deep in the queue for minutes and a loan switch to Portsmouth hadn’t gone at all well as he found himself in and out of the side at League One level.

Brought in to some fanfare in January the season before, he made only four starts and struggled for confidence as circumstances conspired against him.

Have his efforts in blue and white gone a little way to proving Portsmouth wrong to leave him on the sidelines for so much of his temporary stint on the south coast?

“A little bit,” he said. “I’m not really focused on that. Football has its way and you can’t really get too low with the lows and high with the highs.

“I didn’t have the best of times there, playing-wise but this happens in football. Football changes really quickly to all sorts of different people and clubs.

“I don’t hold any grudge or anything like that towards Portsmouth. I enjoyed my time, there are great people there and I wish them all the best.

“It was about finding a new home. I’d had a tough couple of seasons but that’s in the past now, I want to focus on Sheffield Wednesday.”

Whether or not Massimo Luongo stays at Sheffield Wednesday remains to be seen as the wait for the Owls’ retained list goes on. Should he leave, the race will be on to find a suitable replacement.

What is more certain is that George Byers looks likely to play an integral role in their attempts to win automatic promotion next season.