Sheffield Wednesday: How Owls youngster Matt Penney felt as he walked out at Hillsborough for the first time

Academy kid Matt Penney had goosebumps on his home debut for Sheffield Wednesday even though he was doing his utmost to shut out the Hillsborough crowd.

Thursday, 23rd August 2018, 17:05 pm
Updated Thursday, 23rd August 2018, 17:10 pm
Matt Penney in action against Millwall

The 20-year-old marked his senior bow in S6 on Wednesday with an impressive display as the Owls won in the league for the first time this season by ending Millwall's unbeaten start.

The left-back, who found out only on the day of the match that he was in the side, tried to treat the occasion like any other game, but he admitted:  "As I came out, I had goosebumps.

Home debut

"It was amazing to play in front of all those fans. The atmosphere was unbelievable."

Penney settled quickly and his assured performance in the 2-1 victory puts him firmly in contention for another outing on Saturday at home to Ipswich Town.

"I knew I had to treat it like a normal game, do the things I normally do," he said. "I had to take out all the fans and the atmosphere and strip it all down to just the game. 

"Three points was the main thing. Everyone dug it out for each other. As soon as the final whistle went, what a feeling that was."

A taste of things to come

Wednesday led 2-0 early in the second half through goals from Barry Bannan and Tom Lees and withstood late pressure after the visitors had clawed their way back into the contest through Ryan Tunnicliffe.

"We knew what we would get from Millwall but we dealt with it remarkably well," Penney said. "We were solid for 90 minutes. They nearly got to the play-offs last season.

"It was a big thing for the gaffer to throw me in. He showed his faith in me and, hopefully, I repaid him well for that. Fingers crossed, I can nail down this position. 

"He didn't say too much beforehand - just to go out and express myself, to go out and play my own game."

Penney has previously been out loan at Bradford City and Mansfield Town. He was given little game-time at either club but says the moves were good for his development.

"Bradford was a big learning experience. I was young when I went there," he said. "Mansfield was not quite a nightmare but it could have gone better. The change of manager killed me. 

"It is all a learning experience and now I am back here I am enjoying my time. I didn't grow much as a player but I grew as a person. I had to be mentally strong."