Captain Glenn Loovens has paid the ultimate compliment to Owls teammate Tom Lees, describing the former Leeds United youngster as one of the best centre-backs he has played with in his career.
Lees is expected to line up against his old club at Elland Road today, having shrugged off a hamstring strain.
The 23-year-old has starred at the heart of Wednesday’s rearguard since quitting Leeds in the summer and moving to Hillsborough for an undisclosed fee, with Stuart Gray’s men recording seven clean sheets from their opening 13 fixtures.
Loovens, formerly of Feyenoord, Cardiff, Celtic and Zaragoza, has enjoyed playing alongside Lees.
“The partnership has been very good,” he told The Star. “Tom’s a reliable player and that makes it easier for me to get on with my job. He’s been a really good signing for us.
“I’ve played with some good centre-backs in my career but Tom is up there with the best of them. I don’t think he has put a foot wrong all season so of course we have missed him when he has been injured. Hopefully he’ll be back soon.”
Lees has missed the last two Championship outings, meaning Lewis Buxton and Kamil Zayatte have deputised at centre-back.
“There has been change but you are going to have that during the course of a season with suspensions and injuries,” insisted Loovens. “It’s how you deal with it.
“The boys who have come in and have done great for us so far so it shows we have a good squad.
“Tom [Lees] has been great for us all season but Kamil, Lewis and Claude [Dielna] have stepped in and done well so it shows we’ve got loads of players who can fill in there.
“Everybody who comes in knows their job. We train hard every week together. We all know each others strengths and weaknesses so it’s not a problem.”
Loovens is content with his own form and hopes to continue staying clear of the treatment room.
“I can’t complain,” he said. “We are delighted to have kept a lot of clean sheets and my and my partnership with Tom has gone well but it’s not only down to the defenders. We have really defended well as a team.
“I’m pleased with how things have gone and hopefully I can stay fit.”