What Sheffield Wednesday man Dominic Iorfa needs to improve to achieve Premier League ambition
Though Pep Guardiola singled out Barry Bannan for praise the last time a ball was kicked at Hillsborough, the eyes of many a neutral were drawn to one Sheffield Wednesday man in particular.
Guardiola’s star-studded Manchester City had beaten the Owls 1-0 to make their way into the FA Cup quarter-finals and the men in defence, the same men that were routed 5-0 at Brentford three days later, earned plaudits.
Sat in the press room as the post-match comments of both managers were being tapped out ahead of a late-night deadline, one of the country’s most respected football writers leant into The Star and asked: “That Iorfa. Is he that good every week?”
The honest answer, of course, was no. Along with Steven Fletcher, few would argue that Dominic Iorfa has been Wednesday’s most impressive player this season and given the Scot’s injury record has a fair claim to the club’s player of the season award.
He’s strong, quick and has a recovery ability few in the division can boast. Settled into his best position this season by Garry Monk, Iorfa has made centre-half his own; it is skipper Tom Lees that has played pass-the-parcel with Julian Börner for the remaining spot. Make no mistake – Dominic Iorfa has clearly had a good season.
But for all the marauding, seat-clicking runs through the middle, for all the eye-catching slide tackles and imperious clearances, there have been occasional lapses of concentration and days to forget. Like so many of his teammates, his form dropped after Christmas.
And as Iorfa this week announced his ambitions to one day become a Premier League player, at this stage of his career, the fact that consistency is his biggest failing is largely OK.
Ambitious Iorfa said: “Everyone wants to play at the highest level and test themselves against the best. I have got the ambition to play in the Premier League.
“That is the level I want to get to but I know I have got certain things to improve.”
It’s something Owls boss Garry Monk told The Star in the minutes after that City clash, praising Iorfa’s reaction to being left out of the side for the first time in his reign a week earlier.
“What you need to do is react whenever you are not there or react when you are in the team to make sure you keep that shirt and Dom has shown that reaction,” Monk said.
“But he needs to maintain it. It is part of his curve.
“It is the first time in his career he had a sustained period at centre-half so he has still got a lot to learn in that position.
“I think he has given a really good account of himself and I think he has learned a lot this season.
“You have also got to remember he’s not had a full season before in his career. He is not a seasoned pro and he is still learning like quite a few of the players. He has definitely made huge progress overall this season.”
The Premier League is where Iorfa’s star appears to be heading. But consistency is key.