Sheffield Wednesday: Owls miss Kieran Lee's dynamism in midfield role
There is a player in Wednesday's squad capable of giving them some much-needed dynamism and urgency in the midfield engine room.
The trouble is Kieran Lee may not play again during the 2016/17 campaign due to injury.
The 28-year-old underwent hip surgery a fortnight ago and is expected to be out of action for three to four months. Lee has been a big loss in their attempts to consolidate a top-six spot.
Boss Carlos Carvalhal is a big fan of Lee’s attributes. Lee has been a first-team regular under Carvalhal, with the Portuguese chief labelling him as one of the best “three or four” midfielders in the division. Praise doesn’t get much bigger than that.
Carvalhal likes the fact Lee has many facets to his game. The former Manchester United youngster does not shirk his defensive responsibilities and then supports the attack when the opportunity arises.
Lee’s energy and late runs into the penalty area have been a big feature of the Owls’ play throughout Carvalhal’s tenure. He netted seven goals last year and found the back of the net four times this time around.
But Carvalhal is backing Lee to come back stronger following his injury setback.
“Kieran is mentally very strong and is a fantastic guy,” he said.
“He’s an amazing player. He was a player being linked with a Premier League team last month so it means he’s an important player.
“If the expectation is for Kieran to be ready in four months, I’m sure he will be ready in three and a half. If it was down to him, he will be fit in three.
“But with the circumstances, it is best for us to forget about Kieran for this season.
“This kind of surgery takes time to recover from. If we receive Kieran for the last games of the season, it will be fantastic but we can’t wait for that.
“We have a team, we have a dynamic, we are Sheffield Wednesday so we go to fight for the three points in every game.”
The Owls are considering signing a new midfielder but finding a replacement for Lee will be a tough task.