Sheffield Wednesday: “He’s taken a bit of a backseat..” Why ex-Owl Theo Corbeanu has fallen down the pecking order at MK Dons

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It’s been nearly three months since Theo Corbeanu left Sheffield Wednesday in a whirlwind of controversy to join promotion rivals MK Dons.

The Wolves youngster, who has celebrated Canada’s qualification for the World Cup this week, left South Yorkshire on the hunt for more game time but after starting six games on the trot on his arrival has started only one in their last seven matches.

We spoke to Dons supporter Liam Connolly, presenter of the MK1 Podcast, for an insight on why he’s fallen down the pecking order in Buckinghamshire and whether history is repeating itself for the Canadian heading into Wednesday’s clash with the in-form third-placed side on April 16.

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It seems a long time since Theo left Wednesday for MK Dons. How was the signing received?

Milton Keynes Dons winger Theo Corbeanu joined the club after a loan stint at Sheffield Wednesday.Milton Keynes Dons winger Theo Corbeanu joined the club after a loan stint at Sheffield Wednesday.
Milton Keynes Dons winger Theo Corbeanu joined the club after a loan stint at Sheffield Wednesday.

“He was one of the first signings in January and in the first couple of games he was the star of the show,” Liam said.

“Those games showed we’d done really well to get in him in and the fans were really excited about him.

“We saw the reaction of the Wednesday fans [to him leaving]. It’s always a good sign if opposition fans isn’t pleased a player is leaving.

“It tells you something about the attitude of the player as much as anything else, I think.”

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He’s started only one of the last seven matches. Having started so well, what’s gone on?

“It was a really good first month or so and I think he’s suffered from Dons’ own success and a change of system.

“We went from playing really expansive, care-free football and creating loads of chances to getting a bit of teeth about us and grinding out a few wins.

“That’s been a big change and Theo has been one of the players that has really suffered from the success of that change in many ways.

“He still gets minutes here and there but the games have dried up a bit. It’s not because he’s got worse as a player or anything like that and it’s probably nothing of his doing.

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“The team has shifted things to prioritise promotion and Theo has taken a bit of a backseat role in that.”

Theo expressed his frustration at limited pitch time at Wednesday. How’s he taken to that at MK Dons?

“You can’t see what’s happening behind closed doors obviously, but I haven’t seen anything to suggest he’s overly frustrated with how things have gone.

“The quality is there, he’s one of a number of players that got hit by the change over the new year. Also he’s not playing at wing-back, which I’m sure he’s pleased about!

“He’s the same as any young player in the EFL in that he lacks consistency. That’s something that Liam Manning has tried to instil in him.

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“He’s spoken about him needing to do lots of things at an 8/10 standard rather than one thing at a 10/10 standard.”

How about his rapport with the fans?

“The relationship he has with the fans is really, really good. There’s always a few Canadian flags in the stands.

“Some will want him to start, but that’s the case with any attacking player that wants to take players on and get them one-on-one.

“Some of the best players in our history are like that; Harvey Barnes, Delle Alli, Lewis Baker.”