Sheffield Wednesday: New Owls signings make good first impression

Joost van Aken
Joost van Aken
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It has not taken centre-backs Joost van Aken and Frederico Venancio long to make their mark at Sheffield Wednesday.

Van Aken and Venancio, recruited from SC Heerenveen and Vitoria de Setubal respectively last month, have never played in English football before.

But there is a strong chance either van Aken or Venancio will make their Owls bow in today’s key Championship meeting with Nottingham Forest.

With Glenn Loovens still nursing a hip problem, it is likely van Aken will get the nod to partner Tom Lees at the heart of the Owls’ rearguard.

“Both look good, really good guys and have settled in quickly,” acknowledged Lees. “But training is different to playing games, and it’s been a bit broken up with having players away.

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“They have not been here a long time, so they are just settling in.

“I am looking forward to seeing how they do in a game, but first impressions are they both look good players.”

Van Aken and Venancio have used the international break to tap into Lees’ knowledge of the Championship.

Lees, who has played over 200 matches in the second-tier, said: “They have both asked me about the Championship, already.

Frederico Venancio

Frederico Venancio

“The Championship has changed from when I first started playing, I know I haven’t been around that long.

“There’s a lot more technical teams, I don’t know if that’s because there’s more foreign players

“So you have have to be able to do both; play calm and be assured on the ball, but I have told them they have to be prepared to run, and be physical as well.

“It’s two sides of the game, so you have to be the complete defender.

“Every manager wants different things from their centre-backs, I have changed.

“Look at how I played when I first joined, compared to how I play now with Carlos. I have changed, but I think that’s for the good and I have added more things to my game.

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“Obviously, you have the fundamentals - how you see yourself as a player - but you have to do what is asked of you.

“The first thing, for me, is you are to there to defend. You see teams who are fantastic (going forward), then are soft and give away a goal.

“At the end of the day, I am there to defend first, but I have always felt I can play with the ball. From a young age that is how I was brought up through the academy.”

Wednesday are looking to shore up their backline, having only recorded one clean sheet in seven fixtures.

Lees said: “When you look at defences, they are best when they are settled. It would be nice to get a bit of continuity going.

“But when you are at a big club, you always have lots of good players so you got to be able to deal with people going in and out. Everyone just needs to know their job for when they are called upon.

“It will be good to have a good number of players in each position, playing in their right position, at a good level.

“You have to be 100 per cent every week, and it adds that competition, which is good. People get injured, suspended, and it’s a long season.”

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