Sam Hutchinson is never dull company.
Wednesday’s charismatic defensive midfielder is always straight-talking, honest and forthright with his opinions on the beautiful game.
Forget the clichés and bland rhetoric some footballers spout in pre or post-match press conferences. Hutchinson, who celebrated his 28th birthday last week, wears his heart on his sleeve and is quite happy to speak his mind - even if it occasionally lands him in trouble.
Away from the pitch, Hutchinson doesn’t take himself too seriously. He is a cheekie chappie and provides plenty of the banter in the Owls’ dressing room.
But Hutchinson is blunt and holds nothing back when he or the team don’t deliver on the field.
Wednesday have set high standards for themselves under boss Carlos Carvalhal but they failed to turn up at Preston North End last weekend and were fortunate to only lose by one goal.
Hutchinson told The Star: “Personally, I was awful. I think as a team we were awful. The boys weren’t at it.
“I don’t think tactically we were right. Everything about the day was awful.
“Preston played well and they knew how we were going to play. We couldn’t figure out as players how to break them down.
“We didn’t get the ball down and play and it was a very bad day for us.
“But it is one game out of 46. We only lost one nil. You don’t win promotion or win a league in one game.
“If we go and win on Saturday and Wednesday, Preston will soon be forgotten about.”
So were there some harsh words between players after the Owls’ dismal display?
“No,” said Hutchinson. “I think there is a time to speak and there is a time to be quiet.
“What is done is done. We can’t do anything about Preston now.
“We have a great group of lads here and we know what we have to do. We go on the training pitch, work hard and we fight for each other.
“When you are that bad as a collective unit, what can you do?
“Some games you have three or players who don’t play well. Apart from Westy [Keiren Westwood], Nando [Fernando Forestieri] and skip [Glenn Loovens], we were bad all together and I was probably one of the worst.”
It was a tough summer for Hutchinson. The former Chelsea youngster ruptured his hernia in the second leg of Wednesday’s play-off semi-final tussle with Huddersfield Town last May. The knock required surgery and Hutchinson was expected to keep him out for six to eight weeks.
But Hutchinson made a speedy recovery and started training again after a month.
He said: “I’ve had five training sessions and played only a few matches. I’m still playing catch up.
“But I’m more than happy to put my body on the line for Sheffield Wednesday.”
The Owls secured a morale-boosting victory in midweek, beating Chesterfield 4-1 in the first round of the Carabao Cup. The result lifted the doom and gloom around Hillsborough in the first of three consecutive home matches.
Hutchinson said: “I think playing a diamond in midfield helped. That made a massive difference.
“With Jonno [David Jones] holding in midfield, it allowed Barry Bannan, Ross Wallace and Almen Abdi to get forward. They were always a threat.
“Hoops [Gary Hooper] and Fletch [Steven Fletcher] as a partnership worked really well up front. I thougth Sam Winnall came on and showed some nice touches around the box and was unfortunate not to score.
“Obviously, the calibre of the team weren’t as good as what we would normally come up against but you can only beat the team in front of you. I thought we looked really good and it was a positive performance.”
It was an eventful evening for Hutchinson. Just before the hour mark, he replaced the injured Jack Hunt at right-back and he grabbed the Owls’ fourth goal after a fine, determined burst into the penalty area.
Hutchinson then donned the gloves for the first time in his career in the final minutes of the tie after Joe Wildsmith was forced off following a heavy collision with striker Chris O’Grady and Wednesday had used all their substitutes.
Hutchinson joked: “To be fair, I’m probably the most stupid person in the team so they were just like put a nutter in the goal! Goalkeepers always have something wrong with them!
“Joe was in a bit of pain. I don’t think he actually needed to go off but I sort of persuaded the doctor that he needed to!
“With us 4-1 up and only a five mintues left, I definitely wanted to go in goal!
“I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is the most I have enjoyed football in a while!”