Sheffield Wednesday: ‘Dedicated’ Claude Dielna aims to cement starting berth

Claude Dielna is set for his second Owls start against Bournemouth
Claude Dielna is set for his second Owls start against Bournemouth
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It can take time for foreign players to adjust to the rigours of the Championship.

Attempting to integrate into a new culture can be anything but straightforward but Owls head coach Stuart Gray is pleased with how Claude Dielna has acclimatised to his new surroundings.

The 26-year-old, who has previously represented Greek giants Olympiakos and French clubs Lorient, Istres, Sedan and Ajaccio, moved to Hillsborough on a free transfer at the end of August.

Lacking match fitness and sharpness, Dielna was forced to wait until September 20 to make his Owls debut and has only played five times since penning a three-year deal.

However, Dielna is set for an extended run in the Wednesday side, with left-back Joe Mattock facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines after sustaining an ankle injury in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Charlton Athletic.

Gray told The Star: “It is all about competition for places and Claude has had to bide his time.

“But credit to him. His English has improved immensely. It doesn’t matter whether you sign players who are available on free transfers or you’ve paid twenty million. Players take a while to settle.

“Claude is a very impressive, dedicated professional. He’s in the gym in the mornings and afternoons and does extra training afterwards. He’s desperate to come here and do well.”

Dielna made his first Wednesday start in the goalless draw with Norwich City 10 days ago. The defender, who is primarily a centre-back, slotted effortlessly into the left-back role due to Mattock’s one-match suspension. He was taken off in the closing stages after suffering cramp.

Gray said: “Claude could have done with a little more composure on the ball at times when we got possession. He didn’t let the team down. He was just found out in regards to the intensity of the game.”