Wednesday chief Carlos Carvalhal has revealed he tried to talk Jeremy Helan out of retirement.
Left-sided player Helan informed Hillsborough officials of his plans to hang up his boots to devote his life to religion over a week ago.
It has yet to be officially confirmed but it has emerged the 24-year-old Frenchman, a devout Muslim, intends to travel to Saudi Arabia to follow his religion more closely.
Speaking at his press beriefing yesterday, Carvalhal said: “This is not something that is new to me. I have spoken to Jeremy since the first day of the season. We had a long conversation. I have lived before in different countries, different mentalities, different religions.
“When Jeremy spoke to me, I understood him. I said to him to take some time and be sure of his decision.
“He has been very professional and is a nice guy. But his head wasn’t in the football, just the body.”
Helan, who started his career at Manchester City, joined the Owls on a permanent basis in the summer of 2013 after impressing on loan. Helan made 145 appearances in Wednesday colours.
“I said Jeremy has a talent to play football, and I did my best to keep him in football,” said Carvalhal. “I gave advice to him that he could stay in football and prepare what he is thinking about doing.
“For example, when I played in Portugal I played while studying at university. I said he could do both.
“But Jeremy is completely different, and his focus is on different things.
“I understand him, and you cannot play professional football when your head is not there.
“I have tried my best to keep him in football - not just at Sheffield Wednesday - but he isn’t going to change his mind.”
Helan struggled to hold down a first-team place under Carvalhal and spent two months on loan at Wolverhampton Wanderers last term.
“I have only ever known players retire for physical reasons but this is Jeremy’s decision,” said Carvalhal.
“We have a different mentality, with our thoughts on money. I can buy a car, apartment, house and have a good life.
“Some people with a different mentality think completely different. They don’t care more about material things; they prefer being in peace with themselves and follow a completely different style of life.
“I know people who have taken decisions, like Jeremy, in different areas. We must accept the decision and wish him the best for the future.”
Club-record signing Adam Reach, utilised at left-back in Saturday’s defeat at Birmingham City, has wished Helan well, saying: “Football is not everything. If Jeremy’s strongly devoted to his religion and that’s what he wants to follow then I wish him all the best.
“He has only got one life so if he doesn’t think football is what he wants to do, I don’t see why he should waste his time doing it.”
Carvalhal, meanwhile, is refusing to overreact despite their Blues setback.
“I know when we lose we must find reasons why we lose,” acknowledged the Portuguese head coach, who will assess left-back Daniel Pudil (thigh) today. “We won the week before and everything was okay, when we lose everything is wrong.
“This is football. We must think differently, I must look to the process. There are circumstances that are outside of the process.
“Individual mistakes, the decisions of the referee, these are part of football and you must accept they are out of our control.
“You can train 24 hours a day, and there will be things that happen that are out of your control.
“What can we improve? We can improve our efficiency, and we are working hard to improve that.
“We are creating chances, playing our football, dominating games, and enjoying what we are doing.”
Carvalhal stressed: “We are in a good way, we didn’t win the last game because of the circumstances of the game, not because of our process.
“I must give confidence to my players and trust them 100 per cent.”