Sheffield Wednesday: The man behind Bennett’s loan move

Joe Bennett playing for Brighton last season. Picture: Angela Brinkhurst

Joe Bennett playing for Brighton last season. Picture: Angela Brinkhurst

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When Joe Bennett learned of Sheffield Wednesday’s interest in his services, he quickly sought advice from a good friend.

The left-back phoned Barry Bannan to get the lowdown on the Championship club.

Joe Bennett

Joe Bennett

The duo know each other well from their days together at Aston Villa and have stayed in touch.

“I’ve known Barry for a while,” Bennett told The Star. “When I first joined Aston Villa, Barry was there and we became good friends.

“I asked him about Wednesday and he just said really good things about the club and that’s what I wanted to hear.

“It helps when you know someone at the club and they can tell you what’s happening. Barry travels from Birmingham most days so it will be good to car share!”

Since joining Wednesday on a free-transfer from Crystal Palace last August, Bannan has flourished, becoming the heartbeat of Carlos Carvalhal’s midfield engine room. His outstanding performances prompted the Owls to hand him a new three-and-half-year deal last week.

Bennett, who has joined the Owls on loan until the end of the campaign, said: “I have watched a couple of Wednesday’s games this season and Barry has been one of the best players on the pitch. He’s a good technical player who’s good on the ball.

“He has got a lot of energy and puts himself about.

“Barry has been playing well which is why Wednesday have rewarded him with a good contract.

“I can’t wait to start working with Barry again.”

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The 25-year-old trained with his new teammates for the first time on Wednesday and is expected to go straight into tomorrow’s squad for their clash at Reading.

It is unlikely Bennett, who is primarily a full-back, will be plunged straight into action, having featured just once this campaign. He came on as a substitute and scored in Villa’s 5-3 Capital One Cup victory over Notts County.

“It has been a little bit frustrating as I haven’t played anywhere near as many matches as I would have liked this year,” he said. “I had a loan spell at Bournemouth and that didn’t work out.

“I went there thinking I was going to play and Charlie Daniels came back fitter sooner than anyone thought so it didn’t work out.

“I am really determined and motivated to try and get in the team at Wednesday and show everybody what I can do.”

When pressed on his main attributes, Bennett said: “Most of my career I have been an attacking left-back.

“In recent years, I have learned and developed to be a good defender at the same time. I do like to get forward and be creative. I love to get in the final third and hopefully the fans will see that if I’m given the opportunity in the next couple of weeks.”

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Rochdale-born Bennett made 92 appearances for Middlesbrough before heading to Villa in August 2012 in a reported £2.75m deal.

He was a regular in his first season at Villa Park but spent last year on a season-long loan at Brighton and Hove Albion, playing 42 times for the Seagulls last term.

Before linking up with the Cherries on deadline day last September, Bennett penned a one-year contract extension at Villa. However, he failed to make a single appearance for Bournemouth and saw his three-month loan cut short due to an Achilles injury.

Now fully-fit, Bennett is set to remain at Wednesday until June 30.

“The main thing for me is playing games and getting used to playing week in week out again,” he said. “It’s important for me at my age to be playing games.

“I was at Brighton on loan and played 42 games last year. That was a really good loan spell for me. Hopefully I can get a good run of games under my belt here.”

Bennett underwent his medical on Tuesday and will provide stern competition for Daniel Pudil.

He said: “I want to help the team get promoted and play as many games as I can.

“Wednesday are a massive club and deserve to be in the Premier League. The fans come out in their numbers every week and the team have got a really good chance of going up and I want to help them try and achieve that.”

Bennett said he will re-assess his long-term future in the summer.

For now, his main objective is helping the Owls clinch a top-six finish.

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