The secret plan that has unleashed a new dimension in Sheffield Wednesday new boy
“There are a couple of positions he can play that I’m not going to reveal to you,” smiled Darren Moore in baking hot South Yorkshire sunshine, “because I’m going to use him in those positions.”
The Sheffield Wednesday manager, speaking in the midst of a busy preseason programme after a run-out against Barnsley, was discussing new signing Jaden Brown a relative unknown brought in on a free transfer from Huddersfield Town.
He was the answer to Wednesday’s long-held problems at left-back, it was surmised. Moore knew better.
Some 298 minutes into his fledgling Owls career – he played only 300 Championship minutes in total for Town last season – Brown has yet to play a single one as a left-back, instead being preferred as a left-winger.
The 22-year-old was perhaps not one of the more eye-catching of Wednesday’s 13 summer signings so far but has been one of many to have stamped their claim on a place in the starting 11 early doors, his latest effort coming in a resolute display against Rotherham United on Saturday.
Brown turned down offers from other clubs while waiting for Wednesday’s registration embargo to be lifted. Club figures have been taken aback by his attitude, commenting on his constant smile and enthusiasm, and though these are early days it’s one that has come across in his play so far.
In Wednesday matches this season Brown has attempted 1.51 crosses per 90 minutes played, compared with a figure of 0.9 per 90 last season with Huddersfield.
Almost every attacking metric has seen a considerable rise in Brown’s liberated role, perhaps the most notable being the rise from 1.8 attempted dribbles per 90 minutes to 3.32 per 90 under Moore.
“They will probably have looked at it and thought there are two left backs on the pitch but with Jaden, I think his offensive game is spot on,” Moore said on Brown after the Rotherham win.
“He’s got the bit between his teeth when he’s got the ball higher up the pitch, he wants to get forward, he wants to have a go at his defensive opponent.
“Even though his tag will be a left back, we see him in different roles, different positions for the team, so we’re really pleased with him.”