Sheffield Wednesday: Owls honeymoon can go on for newly-wed Forestieri

Fernando Forestieri

Fernando Forestieri

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There is one player who, above all others, Andy Hinchcliffe feels the Owls can ill afford to lose this summer.

For the former Wednesday left-back turned media pundit, Fernando Forestieri is irreplaceable in Carlos Carvalhal’s side.

“If you are going to be successful in the Championship, you do need an out and out goalscorer who can get 15 to 20 goals,” he told The Star. “Wednesday have got that in Forestieri.

“It’s not just about whether Forestieri scores or not. They’ve also got Gary Hooper too so they don’t just rely on him.

“Forestieri gives the team so much, not just with his goals but with his all-round play.

“He is such an intelligent footballer.”

Andy Hinchcliffe

Andy Hinchcliffe

After slipping down in the pecking order at Watford, Forestieri needed a fresh challenge to reignite his stalled career.

Step forward Wednesday.

Since moving to Hillsborough in August 2015, Forestieri has not looked back. He topped the goalscoring charts during the 2015/16 campaign, hitting 15 goals.

His silky footwork, awareness and ability to do the unexpected wowed the fans.

Little wonder he scooped the vast majority of the individual prizes handed out at the end of last season.

The great thing from Wednesday’s perspective is that Forestieri’s best years are in front of him and all is well in his private life too.

Earlier this month, he married partner Andria before flying out to Las Vegas for their honeymoon.

On and off the pitch, Forestieri is a happy man.

Hinchcliffe said: “Wednesday did very well to get a hold of Forestieri as I’m sure a lot of clubs would have tried to bring him in because he’s the type of player who can pretty much do everything.

“Forestieri has that vision and can score or make goals out of nothing. He can be quiet in a game and then all of a sudden have a hand in two or three goals.

“I’m sure scouts and clubs will be looking at Forestieri so it will be a question of whether Wednesday can keep him now.”

Hinchcliffe has likened Forestieri to his old Wednesday teammates ,Paolo Di Canio and Benito Carbone.

He said: “When I played with Paolo and Benito, they could do things which none of the other players could do.

“We thought we could defend with eight players and we’ve always got those two to create and score goals for us and that would make the difference.

“It is very true with this Wednesday team and Forestieri. You always need a talisman who you look too when the times are tough to give you something different.

“Forestieri can create and score goals for them so he’s a major threat.”

Forestieri was one of the most fouled players in the division last term. Some defenders deliberately hacked him down to prevent him weaving his magic.

But, much to his manager’s frustration, the Argentine-born forward was penalised three times in the space of two months by match officials for diving.

His second booking in Wednesday’s goalless draw at Hull City, who edged them out in the Championship Play-off Final, was widely condemned.

Forestieri said: “I was sent off twice, two games in a row, at Preston and Hull. I don’t know if it is my reputation, but if I do not try and jump over the tackle at Hull, maybe I am injured badly too.

“You know, when you are running fast, only a little contact can take you down.

“Not every fall is from the swimming pool (a dive), but now I have every nickname.

“They call me a cheat, a diver, everything. But if fans want to see harder contact, they need to go and watch rugby. It is true players need to help referees, but sometimes players need more protection. When I got both redscards, I did not imagine the fouls.”

In the build-up to the all-Yorkshire final at Wembley, Hull winger Robert Snodgrass branded Forestieri a “cheat”, accusing him of being a “diver”.

Hinchcliffe enjoys watching Forestieri but the ex-England international believes there have been times in the 26-year-old’s career where he has tumbled too easily.

“We had it sometimes with Paolo and Benito where that would be the downside to their performances, and maybe it is true of Forestieri,” he said. “Maybe people have to accept that there will be parts of Fernando’s game you won’t be keen on but you know 80 per cent of what he does will be for the benefit of the team.

“We always wanted Paolo and Benito in our team and I’m sure Wednesday would always want Forestieri. Teams lean on these players when things get tight.”

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