Sheffield Wednesday: Patient Helan urged to build on first league start

Owls star Jeremy Helan.
Owls star Jeremy Helan.
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Some footballers kick up a fuss if they are left out of the starting line-up for a lengthy period.

You could have forgiven Jeremy Helan for falling into that trap after a frustrating two months.

But the versatile Frenchman has not sulked or moaned over his lack of game time, according to Sheffield Wednesday head coach Stuart Gray.

Helan’s patience was rewarded as he made his first league start of the season in Tuesday’s goalless draw at Brentford.

Gray told The Star: “Jeremy is an excellent professional who has had to bide his time because Jacques Maghoma has been doing well.

“He knows he’s had to wait for his opportunity but credit to him. He trains really hard; he came in and did well against Brentford.”

Explaining his decision to hand a start to Helan, who was one of four changes, Gray said: “Their right-back [Alan McCormack] likes to get forward so I just felt we needed someone to force him back.

“I needed a little more directness in one on one situations and Jeremy gave us that. He ended up getting the right full-back booked. I wanted Jeremy to keep driving at him and cause him problems.”

Helan said it was a “great feeling” to start and admits he wanted to prove a point.

“I wanted to take my chance to show that I can do a job for the team,” he conceded.

With first-team regular Joe Mattock ruled out due to suspension, Helan is expected to retain his place in the starting line-up for tomorrow’s tussle with promotion-chasing Norwich. The 22-year-old may revert to left-back if Gray decides to recall Maghoma.

Although Gray has been impressed by Helan’s professionalism, he is calling on the former Manchester City player to improve his decision making in the final third.

“In the first half, I think Jeremy got to the byline three or four times but it is just picking out that final pass at the end,” he said.