Sheffield Wednesday: Mattock’s pride as hard work pays off

Joe Mattock
Joe Mattock
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The mantra of hard work pays off eventually seems to be paying off for Joe Mattock.

From largely a back-up role last season, the full back has started all four games so far for the Owls and looks set to hold onto his place at Middlesbrough today.

The summer departure of Reda Johnson and a pre-season injury for Jeremy Helan presented Mattock with a clear path to the starting XI.

But the 24-year-old has not rested on his laurels and turned in a string of impressive performances so far.

And he feels his hard work on the training ground is helping him finally show Owls supporters what he is all about.

“I feel a lot fitter than last year,” Mattock told the Star.

“I’m capable of getting up and down the pitch, like Stuart Gray wants us to do, as well as working my socks off.

“It’s about making sure I’ve nothing left to give at the end of the game.

“Stuart wants us to be physical, have good stamina and close down teams a lot and not let them play.

“But obviously we want to play football too, not just hoof the ball up. We’re passing the ball, getting the ball wide and getting crosses in.”

Mattock started his career at Leicester, making such an impression in the two years following his debut that he earned a £1.2million move to West Brom.

After 34 appearances in his first season with the Baggies – a campaign which ended in promotion to the top flight – Mattock would go on to make just three more in the following two years and was farmed out on loan to Sheffield United, Portsmouth and Brighton before joining the Owls two years ago.

After almost four years of uncertainty, Mattock now feels as though he is getting back to the kind of form he showed in his early career.

He said: “I’m gradually getting back to my best form.

“I had a good start to my career, it dipped, but now I’m getting games I feel like I can kick on again.

“The dip was probably just form. But also, when you go to a club and don’t play, you have to keep mentally strong.

“When I was younger maybe I wasn’t as mentally strong as I am now.

“It’s hard work not being in the team, mentally as well as physically.

“When I first came, I was working hard on the training pitch but wasn’t really in favour.

“You just have to keep your head down, like I did, keep training hard and obviously it has paid off.

“Now I’m playing and all I’m thinking about is keeping playing games and staying in the side.

“I’ve got Jeremy Helan also in my position so it’s good competition. It keeps me on my toes and I like that.”

Mattock insists the Owls will not come back from the Boro trip today empty handed.

He said: “We’ll go for the win, but if we don’t get the win, we’ll come back with a point.

“We don’t come back with nothing.”