Sheffield Wednesday: David Prutton discusses his time with Owls, the strength of the Championship and life on screen at Sky Sports

Sheffield Wednesday......David Prutton
Sheffield Wednesday......David Prutton
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Having spent the vast majority of his career playing in the EFL, David Prutton is now right at home taking a watching brief on the fortunes of the league's 72 clubs.

The former Sheffield Wednesday midfielder hung up his boots shortly after his contract at Hillsborough expired, in the summer of 2014.

Sheffield Wednesday Open Training Session New Home Kit Launch at Hillsborough.....David Prutton

Sheffield Wednesday Open Training Session New Home Kit Launch at Hillsborough.....David Prutton

Since then he has become a regular sight on our screens, as first a pundit and now a presenter of EFL matches for Sky Sports.

Prutton is an ideal host for the satellite broadcaster's coverage; he is enthusiastic, well-spoken and extremely clued up on the form of all clubs across the league's spectrum.

The 37-year-old admits that the Championship in particular is going from strength to strength, with the addition of big-money signings complementing managerial arrivals such as Marcelo Bielsa and Frank Lampard.

"I think the lead at the top of the Championship has changed 15 times so far, which is great." Prutton told the Star.

Sky Sports with David Prutton.'12th April 2018.'Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe

Sky Sports with David Prutton.'12th April 2018.'Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe

"You can't deny there's a knock-on effect from the Premier League, with the money for example that filters down.

"You look at Wolves last year and you see foreign players coming in and impressing in the Championship.

"It makes them robust and is almost like an elongated audition to show what you can do in English football.

"Across the board the profile of the league is getting bigger and from my point of view, it's great.

"I obviously have a soft spot for the clubs that I played for, such as Wednesday, Leeds and Nottingham Forest.

"But to view it neutrally and see how the league has evolved, it's fascinating to see."

Prutton made 56 appearances for the Owls in a three-year spell and was part of the League One promotion season in 2012.

Indeed, he scored on his Owls debut with a ridiculously good volley against Rochdale on the opening day and played his part in the team pipping city rivals United to the second automatic promotion spot.

He stayed with the club for another two years but was gradually moved out of the team, finishing his Hillsborough career out on loan at Coventry.

Despite a low-key exit, he still looks back fondly on his time at Wednesday, where he played under Gary Megson, Dave Jones and Stuart Gray. 

"I felt privileged to play for a club that gave me more than I ever gave it," Prutton said.

"To know that whoever was in charge, that they wanted you to play in front of so many people, it was just an immense privilege.

"The fans understood we were a certain bunch of players at a certain time.

"I know that if you're looking at players who fans will see as ideal Wednesday players, then I know that I'm several universes away from being that.

"But I also know that we were there to try and get the club to a better place.

"If you want to play better players than me then I never had any qualms whatsoever.

"I knew what I could do, what my strengths were and what my limitations were."

As he alluded to, the main aim when Prutton arrived was to achieve elevation back to the Championship.

It was duly done and the club are now in their sixth year in the second tier.

Under Jos Luhukay the Owls have struggled for consistency this season and entered the international break in 17th place - eight points adrift of the play-off spots.

Prutton admits luhukay's team have been frustrating to watch this term - something Owls' supporters will no doubt agree with.

"I think they've been incredibly frustrating," he said. "Defensively, at times, they haven't covered themselves in glory and the figures back that up.

"Earlier on in the season it looked as though they were in a decent run of form and had a rhythm.

"There's a lot of players there that have been there for quite a while and and that have done very well for the club.

"The players that they have are undoubtedly very good Championship players and on their day they can be very effective.

"They just haven't done that consistently this year.

"I wouldn't say the club has gone backwards, but they are treading water."

Prutton, who won 25 caps for the England under-21s during his 16-year playing career, admits he has some sympathy for Luhukay.

The Dutchman arrived at S6 in January but has had to deal with a number of issues, such as an ageing squad and having to operate under a transfer embargo which was only lifted towards the tail-end of the autumn transfer window.

"There's been situations to deal with away from the pitch for Jos," added Prutton.

"The expectations of the club have been raised in the last few years.

"The responsibility of the club is, or was, to strike while the iron is hot.

"They have spent money, but I'd probably say they've spent the most on wages.

"If in January they are in mid-table, then they have to go for it.

"It's so congested that three, four or five wins on the spin gets you right in the play-off picture."

LIFE ON TV

David Prutton retired in 2014 and was asked soon after to help out on commentary on a game for Sky Sports.

He says that he soon became passionate about working in broadcast full-time and says he strives to be balanced in his presenting duties.

Prutton regularly presents live Championship games as well as the weekly EFL Matters round-up show.

"I love it and I'm very grateful that I'm able to do it," he said.

"I spoke to a producer who I hit it off with.

"It was similar to any walk of life really.

"I just turned up on time, prepared and I tried to bring something different.

"After doing commentary and punditry, one of the bosses asked me about presenting a Checkatrade Trophy game - I jumped at the chance.

"It was a different approach and set of challenges.

"It's very much a work in progress as far as I'm concerned but I've got good people helping me out and giving me pointers.

"I like to give a balanced view but also my honest opinion. 

"I don't think there's too much more you can possibly do."

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