There is an elephant in the Sheffield Wednesday dressing room and his name is Fernando.
Over the past week there have been a number of articles and interviews that have speculated about Forestieri’s current circumstances. As a high profile player dropped to the bench there is always going be questions raised but where Fernando is concerned the immediate reaction is always to query his attitude.
The latest to comment was former Leeds United and Coventry City player Noel Whelan who is quoted as saying: “Diseases spread, and you don’t need attitudes like that, it just takes one person.”
It’s worth taking this ‘insider knowledge’ with a massive pinch of salt as he was hardly a paragon of virtue himself as a player.
As for it having a destabilising effect on the team I think three league wins on the bounce would further suggest maybe things aren’t that bad in the dressing room.
The most interesting comment on the subject this week was from Adam Reach before the Reading match. He said: “The manager wants players to work hard and give 100 per cent…Maybe Fernando did not do that and that was why he was put on the bench – to show a reaction.”
It’s a very candid remark from a teammate. So is it his attitude or laziness? A belief that he doesn’t have to try as hard because he’s more naturally gifted than some in the team?
Maybe Forestieri was dropped to the bench because of his attitude towards training. Maybe Luhukay intended it to be a wake up call. Maybe he wasn’t put back in the team because others have stepped up in his absence and have earned the right to be selected above him.
The truth is we don’t know. It seems the doubters will always raise questions about Fernando’s off-the-pitch attitude but rarely will it be mentioned about the fundraising he does, the hospital visits he makes to kids, the woman who gave him a bottle of water during a match when he needed it and he gave her signed shirt. Attitude or not, mud sticks.