Dom Howson column: How Glenn Loovens has led way for Sheffield Wednesday

Glenn Loovens

Glenn Loovens

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It is remarkable how quickly the mood can change around a football club.

Two matches ago, some supporters on social media were calling for Carlos Carvalhal’s head and questioning the club’s ability to compete with the division’s big boys.

Now everything is hunky-dory again after two good results on the road. If Wednesday beat Preston North End tomorrow, Carvalhal’s men could move up to as high as fifth. No wonder Carvalhal stays grounded whether they win, lose or draw.

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But who or what has made the difference for the Owls since the last international break? Was it Carvalhal’s decision to ditch nearly all of his summer signings and reverting back to last season’s team? Has it been playing Sam Hutchinson in the defensive midfield role? Or maybe it has been playing Ross Wallace or Barry Bannan in the wide positions?

In my opinion, the man who has made a major contribution in Wednesday collecting four points from their last two outings has been Glenn Loovens. In his own inimitable low-key, unassuming way, the big Dutchman is a crucial, indispensable cog in the Owls machine.

What Loovens may lack in pace he makes up for with his sheer physicality.

Carvalhal turned to the experienced defender at Craven Cottage and Wednesday were minutes away from keeping a clean sheet. They learned from that late lapse, recording a sixth shut out in the win at Wolves.

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Loovens wears the captain’s armband with pride but is happy not to be the biggest ego in the Wednesday dressing room. He is a steady, consummate senior pro with a calm demeanour. When things aren’t going well, Loovens is just the sort of character a team needs to come through a tricky period.

Loovens has led from the front and has an almost telepathic understanding with Tom Lees. Both are rugged, no nonsense defenders. Their qualities seem to complement each other. You can tell the pair enjoy playing alongside each other. Their communication is excellent and they know they can rely on one another to bail them out of difficult situations.

Loovens is a big presence in the Wednesday side but the hardest part for him is staying fit. The 33-year-old has only played seven times this season due to injury and illness.

“It takes me a bit longer to get back to full fitness,” he said.

Between matches, the Owls must wrap Loovens up with cotton wool. For them to mount a top-two push, Loovens must stay out of the treatment room.

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