Who was solid at the back and whose good work goes unnoticed? Our unsung heroes in Sheffield Wednesday's win against Cardiff City

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Wednesday’s front pair Josh Windass and Jordan Rhodes will grab the headlines after their clinical finishing against Cardiff City gave the Owls a perfect start to the new campaign.

But who were the unsung heroes in what was a very disciplined away performance against last season’s play-off semi-finalists? Let’s take a look...

Tom Lees

There was nothing flash or fancy about Lees’ performance on Saturday, it was just good old fashioned solid defending. His positioning was spot on and he led the back three well.

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Owls trio Tom Lees, Massimo Luongo and Joost van Aken block out another Cardiff City attack. Picure: Steve Ellis.Owls trio Tom Lees, Massimo Luongo and Joost van Aken block out another Cardiff City attack. Picure: Steve Ellis.
Owls trio Tom Lees, Massimo Luongo and Joost van Aken block out another Cardiff City attack. Picure: Steve Ellis.

He was in the middle of the defence with Dominic Iorfa and Joost van Aken either side of him and he looked much more comfortable in that central position.

Perhaps not having the captain’s armband has taken the pressure off him a bit and he can concentrate on his own game?

In the past he has looked very shaky on the ball but this was not that type of game with Cardiff having a lot of possession. Bringing the ball out of defence is not his main strength so hopefully he will be asked to do less of that this season.

It’s only one game but it’s a building block for him.

Joost van Aken

It was a bit of a surprise to see his name on the teamsheet instead of Julian Borner but he didn’t let anyone down.

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He was a bit shaky in the opening exchanges and it looked like Cardiff targeted him as a ‘weak link’ and tried to dominate him from set-pieces but he stood up to the challenge well.

When he first joined the Owls he was someone who would like to stride into midfield with the ball and spray 30-yard diagonal passes, but there was none of that against the Bluebirds, he was strong in the tackle and kept things simple.

Massimo Luongo

The pick of our unsung heroes. He did a lot of the ‘dirty work’ and always seemed to be in the right position.

Luongo isn’t necessarily one for eye-catching slide tackles but he rather nudges people off the ball or pinches it off their toes.

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He doesn’t get the praise he deserves a lot of the time and perhaps his efforts go unnoticed by some, but he is going to be vital for the Owls this season because they don’t have anybody else of his quality who can come in and do the job he does.

Kadeem Harris

I have to admit I still prefer Harris further up the pitch, running at the opposition and trying to get a cross in. He was brilliant at doing that in the first half of last season.

In this 3-5-2 formation Harris has been in the left wing-back role but against Cardiff he switched to the right, and he did a great job for the team. He stuck to his defensive duties well and still tried to offer support going forward. With him and the right and Penney on the left the starting line-up certainly looks more balanced.

And the villain of the day

It has to be Cardiff boss Neil Harris for saying the game should have been 0-0 throughout, with his team pinching the points late on. What game was he watching? Cardiff had a lot of the ball but Cameron Dawson was hardly tested.