Barry Bannan has hailed his switch to Sheffield Wednesday as the move of his career.
Bannan has been one of head coach Carlos Carvalhal’s best signings, having moved from Crystal Palace last summer, with his consistent displays in the drive to the Play-Off Final prompting a place in the Championship’s Team of the Year. The Scotland midfielder, currently on international duty ahead of World Cup qualifiers against Lithuania and Slovakia, admits that he hankered after life in the Premier League for too long and the step down a division has brought out the best in him. “When I moved to Sheffield Wednesday I saw it as my last chance of making a name for myself in England and it’s been the best move I’ve ever made,” said the 26-year-old. “As soon as I went through the door, I played five or six games in three weeks and knew straight away it was the club for me. “I got on well with the manager Carlos Carvalhal from day one, we connected immediately, and the fans and players were brilliant. “Playing in a winning team has also been a big thing for me, really, because I’m better in teams that have the ball. Since going there we’ve been up the top half of the Championship table and that has brought the best out in my game. It’s probably been the best time I’ve had in football. “I’d been clinging on to the Premier League for a while, as at Aston Villa we only just stayed up when I was there and then with Crystal Palace the club had just won promotion. “But I had to take a step backwards to build my career again and I think the 18 months I’ve been there has been really, really good. The step back has done me the world of good.” Bannan is now hoping that regular appearances for Wednesday will turn into more international caps too. With Celtic’s Scott Brown deciding to retire from playing for Scotland, Bannan is one of a few players aiming to fill the gap left by the former skipper. “Obviously, there have been times when I’ve played three or four games and then been out of the team for a while. It has been up and down, up and down. But I’m now at a certain age – playing every week at club level – and hopefully I can kick on into the last part of my career. The aim is to get settled into the Scotland side as a regular starter. “Now that I’m playing every week there are no excuses and I have to kick on. I played the full 90 against Malta and hopefully I can carry that on and get more 90 minutes.” He added: “There are a few of us who are after Scott Brown’s jersey. The manager has a choice of four or five players who can come in and play in that position. That’s why training is so important here. It has been proven in the past that if you impress during training he’ll give you a shot in the games.”