Laura Jones’ Sheffield Wednesday column: Why I miss the days of goalscoring defenders like Reda Johnson

Reda Johnson

Reda Johnson

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Remember the iconic commentator John Helm saying “…did well Wilson…ohhh…he done it again Pearson?” Remember when Reda Johnson would clumsily fall on a winger and then redeem himself by nodding in a corner? Remember when Sheffield Wednesday had goal scoring defenders?

I miss those days.

I miss scoring in general if I’m being honest but there’s something very satisfying about your defenders getting on the score sheet.

Last season in the league, Lewis Buxton and Kamil Zayatte added five goals to The Owls overall tally. In the 2012/13 season, Reda Johnson and Miguel Llera scored twelve between them.

This season, Claude Dielna has scored one and we’ve maybe scored another from the back depending on whether Jeremy Helan is classed as a midfielder or a left-back. We shouldn’t take anything away from Dielna, it was a brilliant 93rd minute winner against Blackburn, and it just seems a lonely goal in the Wednesday repertoire.

Our defenders have done their primary function well this season. According to the football statistic website Squawka, Tom Lees is the fourth best performing defender in the Championship. What we’ve gained from a tightened defence, we’ve lost an ability to score from the back.

Maybe it’s because our defenders are cautious about making an Emerson Thome style run through the middle. Maybe it’s because Stuart Gray has ordered the team to play as deep as possible but even when we take set pieces our defenders seem to lack the drive to throw themselves at a floating cross.

If you look at a team like Bournemouth, who have been the best performing attacking team in the Championship this season, they have scored from most positions. Attack, midfield and the defence have added to their tally. Is it time for our defenders to be less cautious about going forward?