Sheffield Wednesday: Winnall spurred on by Owls fight for places

Sam Winnall scores against QPR
Sam Winnall scores against QPR
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Sam Winnall believes the competition for a starting spot in Wednesday’s side is helping him develop into a better player.

The 26-year-old opened his account for the 2017/18 campaign, coming off the bench to score in the Owls’ home draw with Queens Park Rangers.

Winnall, who was involved in a training ground bust-up with Fernando Forestieri last Thursday, is vying with Jordan Rhodes, Gary Hooper, Steven Fletcher, Atdhe Nuhiu and Lucas Joao for a place in Wednesday’s team.

He said: “There’s competition (for places) here that I have never experienced before.

“I am competing against players with extreme qualities.

“I have different qualities to the other strikers here, and it drives me on to be a better player.

“I want to improve and that’s how I have got to look at it.”

Saturday’s outing was Winnall’s first league appearance of the campaign. He was overlooked for their opener at Preston North End but the former Barnsley forward came off the bench in their cup triumph over Chesterfield.

“I was disappointed to being left out of the squad last week,” conceded Winnall. “I have got to put myself in the gaffer’s mind, that I am here and ready to perform for this football club.

“That’s what I want to do, play as many minutes, score as many goals, and be successful here.

“Hopefully that’s the start of a good season for myself and the football club.”

When asked if he had spoken to boss Carlos Carvalhal about his omission, Winnall said: “The gaffer is always speaking to the players. I got my chance today and I like to think I have taken that.

“We needed that point. It’s not the three points we wanted, but we showed grit, determination and character within the squad, which showed we are not going to roll over and be beaten. That’s something to build on going into the season.”

Despite Wednesday’s slow start, Winnall is refusing to be too downhearted.

“We showed a lot of fight against a good QPR team,” he said.

“We know we haven’t found our top performance yet, but we’re working on it and we put up a fight and showed that, when things are going against us a little bit, we’re not going to go under and give up.”

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