SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY: Rhys to miss Spain trip but keep Euro role

Sheffield Wednesday v Hull City........Owls Rhys McCabe
Sheffield Wednesday v Hull City........Owls Rhys McCabe
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OWLS starlet Rhys McCabe is set to play an important role in Scotland Under 21s’ next European Championship campaign though he misses out on international duty this week.

The Scots will face the USA on Friday and Canada on Monday in the Marbella Cup in Spain without him.

McCabe had a thigh injury recently and pulled out of the squad that was originally named for this friendly double-header.

Withdrawals contributed towards manager Billy Stark naming eight uncapped players in a revised squad.

But McCabe, aged 20, will be young enough to carry on playing for the Under 21s in next year’s European Chammpionship qualifiers and beyond.

Stark has given a hint that the Owls starlet will stay in his plans.

The Scotland boss has judged that midfield is a “really strong area” of his squad, looked forward to the next competitive campaign and said: “You like a bit of continuity with players who have previous experience.”

McCabe was on duty for Scotland’s European Championship qualifiers against Luxembourg and Austria last month, but they were unable to reach the 2013 finals. Next year will see the start of the build-up for the 2015 finals.

While the Owls do not have the potential worry of whether McCabe comes back from an international trip unscathed, they must wait to see how Nejc Pecnik fares.

Pecnik is in the Slovenia squad again, for World Cup qualifiers against Cyprus in Maribor, Slovenia, on Friday, and Albania in Tirana next Tuesday.

He figured in a 2-1 defeat by Norway last month.

McCabe is rated as a real prospect by Dave Jones.

The former Rangers midfield man missed two recent games because of his thigh injury.

But he took over from Pecnik at half time of last week’s midweek game at Burnley, and took the eye on his full comeback against Hull last Saturday, when he and midfield partner Ross Barkley were described as “outstanding” by their manager.

Although Barkley is on loan from Everton, and destined to go back to Goodison Park sooner or later, the Wednesday boss believes that he has some up-and-coming talent in the ranks.

At a lower age-level, the club’s Under 18s notched a fifth successive win when they beat Sheffield United 4-3 at Middlewood.

The Owls trailed 2-0 at half time, recovered to 2-2, went 3-2 down and completed a fightback with a late winner from Charlie Dawes.

Wednesday academy coach Nev Burbeary said: “Sheffield United were the better side in the first half but we changed the system at half time and came out with more purpose. We’re delighted to keep our winning run going.”