Seven things we learned from Sheffield Wednesday's draw at Norwich City

A positive result and performance at Carrow Road ensured Wednesday continued an impressive start to the new Championship season.

Sunday, 14th August 2016, 08:30 am
Updated Sunday, 14th August 2016, 09:39 am
Tom Lees was superb for Wednesday at Norwich

Here, reporter Liam Hoden looks at seven talking-points from the fixture and a rather news-worthy day in Norfolk.


Lucas Joao impressed on a rare league start

The Fernando Forestieri saga could have overshadowed the day for Sheffield Wednesday and proven an unwelcome distraction from the tough task at hand. Keiren Westwood admitted afterwards that the players were as in the dark as supporters over Forestieri's refusal to travel. Preparation work had been done on the training ground with Forestieri's participation in set-pieces and systems only for him to remove himself from the squad at the 11th hour. But the Wednesday squad got on with the job at hand with no fuss whatsoever. And the likes of Tom Lees and Barry Bannan reiterated the fact this Owls team is brimming with genuine individual class. They may have lacked Forestieri's ability to change a game in a heartbeat but it mattered little in another excellent performance.


It was not what he wanted to talk about but there was no avoiding the Forestieri situation for Carlos Carvalhal as he spoke to the media after the game. And he was in no mood to pull punches, blaming modern football and money for the attitude of certain players. There was no mollycoddling of Forestieri, no softly-softly approach in a bid to ease him back into the side and welcome him in with a hug. Carvalhal was blunt. He has a three year deal, we will not sell our best players. He is going nowhere. Carvalhal hates distractions and things he cannot control which explains why he cannot understand the desire of supporters and the media to talk about injured players. Forestieri's tantrum was certainly an unwelcome distraction and one Carvalhal will want to sort quickly.

VIDEO: Carlos Carvalhal says Fernando Forestieri is going nowhereTOM LEES CAN CLAIM TO BE WEDNESDAY'S MOST IMPORTANT MAN

Gary Hooper is lacking match sharpness

Wednesday's MVP has switched hands numerous times over the last couple of years. Westwood had a stranglehold on the title during his first season at the club while Bannan and Forestieri were in a constant wrestling match for it last term. But Tom Lees is looking more and more THE key man for Wednesday. He is arguably slightly more exposed by the lack of a defensive midfielder shielding the back four but he seems to relish having more work to do. He was brilliant again at Norwich, showing excellent timing, undoubted bravery and great level-headedness.

VOTE: Who was your Owls man of the match against Norwich?SAM HUTCHINSON IS A CENTRE HALF - AND A PRETTY GOOD ONE

Two league games and two excellent performances from Sam Hutchinson as he settles into his new role as a centre back. He shares Lees' calm and composure, making it appear as though he has played in the position all his life. Hutchinson's abilities on the ball are also vital in Wednesday's desire to keep possession. He can make intelligent passes out from the back four to ensure possession is maintained. So far, so good on Carlos Carvalhal's experiment.


Lucas Joao impressed on a rare league start

Hutchinson's move back into defence has left Wednesday without a holding midfielder. The desire to field three middle men with the dynamism and quality of Bannan, Almen Abdi and Kieran Lee is understandable. But Wednesday appear to be lacking a base, not in defensive terms but attacking. Having an anchor in front of the back four means there is someone to take the ball from a defender and begin an attack. The lack of a sitting midfielder means the rest of midfield and, on occasion, a striker is drawn far too deep in search of the ball, making it very difficult to build an attack into the final third. With Hutchinson otherwise engaged, a venture into the transfer market would be wise in this area.

If Forestieri had travelled, Lucas Joao would more than likely have been sat on the bench. But he grasped his opportunity with both hands and caused plenty of headaches for Norwich. A bundle of energy, he hardly stopped running while his neat footwork made it difficult for the Canaries to nick the ball away. Joao arguably should have scored in the second half but took a little too long to get his shot away. But it was a fine performance from a player who has been very much on the fringes for the last eight months.


Gary Hooper is lacking match sharpness

Gary Hooper looked well off the pace as he returned to his former club. He was beaten to almost every ball on a frustrating evening and lacked any real threat. Some long balls forward to him were wayward and failed to take advantage of the start of decent runs from the striker, but Hooper himself was the main cause of his own issues. The striker has long faced questions about his fitness and he failed to provide an adequate answer on the pitch at Carrow Road. In the battle for starts in attack for Wednesday, he looks well behind the battle-scarred Steven Fletcher, who showed more dynamism and intent off the bench than Hooper did from the start.