Jordan Thorniley has described Fernando Forestieri as “one of the best players” he has played with and hopes the Owls forward will stay out of the treatment room next season.
Forestieri missed seven months of the 2017/18 campaign after undergoing major knee surgery.
His ability to conjure or create a goal out of nothing was a big loss to Wednesday.
But Forestieri made his long-awaited return to action at the end of March and played an instrumental part in the Owls’ mini-revival.
The 28-year-old notched five goals in eight matches to help Wednesday climb up to 15th in the table.
Defender Thorniley told The Star: “Fernando is a quality player and one of the best players I’ve played with.
“Fernando has so much quality. He is a very good player and massive to our team. He is Premier League standard.
“He can help us get to where we want to be when he is fit and firing. Hopefully he can stay fit (next year) but we have to pick up results if he drops out of the team.”
It was a big breakthrough year for Thorniley as the former Everton youngster made 28 senior appearances. He spent the first half of the season on loan at Accrington Stanley, featuring 17 times for the League Two champions.
Thorniley returned to Hillsborough in the New Year and was promoted to the first-team by Owls boss Jos Luhukay. He was deployed at centre-half, full-back and wing-back.
“To be honest, I expected to play the full season at Accrington but I came back and did well here,” said Thorniley. “I’m just buzzing for next season. I can’t wait.
“I will enjoy the break but will make sure I am ready to come back and hit the ground running and stake a claim for a first team place.”
The 21-year-old is confident the club can be successful next year.
Thorniley said: “There is a good buzz around the place because we finished the season well, winning six of the last nine matches. I want to go up next year. That’s what everyone wants.”