Sheffield Wednesday: Gary Hooper is Owls’ best player says Jose Semedo

Gary Hooper has been labelled Premier League quality by team mate Jose Semedo
Gary Hooper has been labelled Premier League quality by team mate Jose Semedo
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Gary Hooper is arguably the best player in the Sheffield Wednesday squad according to team mate Jose Semedo.

Hooper’s return to the side after injury has coincided with four consecutive wins for the Owls, reigniting their hopes of securing a top six finish for the second straight season.

The striker has emerged as a key figure in linking midfield to attack, something which head coach Carlos Carvalhal had pointed out in his absence.

And Semedo insists recent performances from the 29-year-old have shown just how important he is to the Wednesday squad.

“You can see the quality he has,” Semedo told The Star.

“For me he is one of the best players, if not the best player we have in the squad, personally I think.

“He is such a good player and the quality shows.

“I remember the game against Newcastle and the player is Premier League quality.

“Players like him I think will be the ones to put us in the Premier League again.”

Hooper has yet to score since his return to action after five months out with a hamstring injury.

His growing role as a link player often sees him much further from goal than he typically was earlier in his career when he netted 82 goals in 138 appearances for Celtic.

Semedo says Hooper’s influence on games means he is always likely to be in the sights of team mates looking to make a pass.

“He is a natural goalscorer but the situation on the game, because he is one of the most influential players everyone is looking at him to give him the ball,” Semedo said.

“So sometimes he has to come to get the ball because everyone requires for him to appear.

“All the time he gets the ball he creates something and makes something special.

“Because it is him to create, he is not going to be there to finish but he provides some quality for others to finish.”

Hooper looks set to retain his place this afternoon as Wednesday welcome Derby County to Hillsborough.

And he could be joined in the matchday squad by Kieran Lee who has been sidelined since early January with a hip injury.

Carvalhal said: “Kieran is progressing well. There are very good signals.

“He can definitely be involved in the 18. Let us take the decisions.

“We haven’t decided yet but he is available if we decide to put him in the 18.”

Sam Hutchinson is definitely ruled out as he continues to struggle with a calf problem.

Fernando Forestieri is a doubt for the game as Carvalhal looks to manage him through his persistent knee issue.