SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY: Jose Semedo raves about Ross Barkley

Top man: Jose Semedo gave his best performance of the season on Saturday, says boss Dave Jones
Top man: Jose Semedo gave his best performance of the season on Saturday, says boss Dave Jones
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JOSE Semedo is tipping Ross Barkley to become one of the best midfield players in the country.

Semedo sees at close hand what an impact the 18-year-old from Everton is making in the Owls midfield.

The experienced Portuguese star also believes that the calibre of the youngsters in the Hillsborough squad makes his job easier.

Barkley has lived up his billing as an outstanding prospect, since Everton allowed him to join Wednesday on loan to gain League experience.

Impressive displays have also brought him four goals, including three in the last two games.

“He’s a top player,” says Semedo. “He’s going to be one of the best midfield players in England within a few years.

“You can see he wants the ball all the time; he wants to play; he wants to be involved in attacking play, and he can run back and defend.”

“It makes my job easier: when he gets the ball he wants to go forward if we are attacking, I am resting, waiting to defend afterwards!”

Semedo, with a current role as a defensive screen in front of the back four, reveals that he and the two centre halves are the only ones in the team who are under instructions to sit back; others, including the full backs, have licence to go forward when appropriate.

Barkley and either Paul Corry or Rhys McCabe have provided more of a creative edge in central midfield,

McCabe is a likely starter against Blackpool tonight, because of Corry’s ankle injury, suffered on Saturday, and is a talented though different type of player when compared to Barkley, says Semedo:

“Ross is looking more for the goal, for the spectacular things, and to take players on. Rhys is a fantastic player as well, very clever, like the brain in the team when he plays. They are different, but such good players.”

With Corry also having made a good impression, Semedo says: “They are such good players for their age. Things in football move quicker thah before, When I was 20 I was not so experienced or so mature.

“They (the young players) do not need much help from me.”

Semedo’s Man of the Match performance against Peterborough was described by Dave Jones as his best of the season.

“It is good if he has said that, because it means I am doing what he wants me do,” said the midfielder. “I feel much better for the second win (on the trot). I think everybody did the right job.

“What I am doing now is not much different to what I have done before. I played in a midfield three, in front of the back four, when I first moved to England, and I played there a few times in Portugal.

“For so long I have been playing in a two, now I am playing in front of the back four again.

Jones says: “It was Semi’s best game for us on Saturday for doing what he does best, which is breaking up a lot of things.

“It also gives the two youngsters a freedom to do what they’re capable of. He’s their safety net. We’re trying to get him on the ball a lot more. We have adapted Semi in such a way that it enables us to go about business in other ways.

“He helps the team and the two youngsters, and gives us a bot more security in front of the back four and behind the front players.”

Jones believes that persevering with the 4-1-4-1 formation has paid off: “Now it’s starting to come together. We stuck to what we believe in.”

Teams and ref

OWLS (possible): Kirkland, Buxton, Llera, Gardner, Jones, Semedo, Bothroyd, Barkley, McCabe, Antonio, O’Grady (4-1-4-1).

BLACKPOOL (possible): Gilks, Eardley, Cathcart, Baptiste, Crainey, Osbourne, Martinez, Gomez, Ince, Taylor-Fletcher, M Phillips (4-3-3).

Andy D’Urso (Essex): Has sent off three players in his last four games, the latest Leicester’s Zak Whitbread in the 83rd minute of Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at Watford, for two bookings. Has also issued 24 bookings in his 12 matches.