Sheffield Wednesday: Sam Hutchinson - Confessions of a football addict
I'm miserable when I'm not playing football. You just don't feel part of it when you are injured.
It was horrible watching the team from the stands over April.
Don’t get me wrong, I wanted the boys to do well and for them to win every game because it progresses me in my career and helps me to achieve all my goals with Sheffield Wednesday.
But if I’m not playing, I’m not happy.
It was nice to get 70 minutes plus under my belt on the final day against Fulham.
I came back into football because I’m addicted to it. It is like a thrill going out and showing off in front of people. It is what I was born to do.
I’ve played the most games I ever have done in my career this year but missing the last few weeks with injury has taken the gloss off it.
I hate being injured. Even more so now because I’m enjoying my football so much. Only my family keep me going when I am out.
I’ve always said that if I am playing I can show my quality.
In the past, I listened to too many people regarding my injuries. I listened to their opinions and I probably wasn’t as mentally strong as I am today. I’ve become mentally tougher with experience and through dealing with different things. I will literally now play with most things.
I played through the pain barrier when I was younger but I probably didn’t play more games because managers didn’t trust me and I didn’t trust my body. It gets to a certain point where it is demoralising when you have to keep coming off the pitch. It is embarrassing and you don’t want to keep coming off in games.
Sometimes you have to know your limitations and now I know which games I have to come off in as I know my body better than anyone. Before I would go out there on a limb and would be thinking ‘if I just get through today, it would be brilliant.’
The gaffer has been a big influence on me. Carlos Carvalhal has been brilliant and I have played under him more than any other manager. I think if you are playing regularly you are always going to love the manager. Carlos has put a lot of faith in me to manage myself and be a man and take responsibility for my body.
He has instilled that confidence in me and I have learned the central midfield role a lot more under him. I had one season with Stuart Gray where I played there but this is only my third season playing in that position. I hadn’t done it for 17 years!
Carlos moved me from centre-half to central midfield in November. We didn’t have a conversation. One week, I was playing centre-half in training and then the next week I was playing in midfield!
Carlos said he might use me in midfield against Fulham and I was dragged off after 56 minutes because I could have been sent off!
I don’t really care where I play. I enjoy midfield more but I am so comfortable at centre-half. It is my position. I can read the game and I am fortunate to have a bit of pace.
However, I think everyone knows what I give in midfield. I give the legs and that aggression which we sort of missed at the beginning of the season.
We played some lovely football at the start of the season. We played a lot out from the back and the boys in midfield got on the ball but sometimes in the Championship you need someone more robust and Carlos thought I could do that job. Luckily when I have played I have done alright.
We have kept a lot of clean sheets in the time I have been at the club. We have the best goalkeeper in the Championship and the two centre-halves have been brilliant but we didn’t get the results early on in the season. We conceded too many goals.
I don’t think we had that balance in midfield at the beginning. It wasn’t correct.
I think if I sit in midfield I allow Barry Bannan and Kieran Lee to go forward and do what they do and be a threat to the opponents.
We have a lot of options in midfield. David Jones has come in and he has done brilliant when he has played and Almen Abdi has also played his part. Everyone has done their bit.
We are through to the play-offs again and I think we are in the position we should be in. The size of the club and the fan-base is massive. We are on the brink of taking the next step and fingers crossed we can do it this season.
If we don’t get promoted this season, we will be bigger, stronger and better next year. It is easy to say that but the chairman is changing so much for the better. We have the new facilities at the training ground and we are getting ready for the Premier League.
It is a big achievement to be in the play-offs for the second year in a row. We had three weeks less to prepare than everybody else but I think the gaffer and the squad have done a brilliant job. It is hard to take yourselves from rock bottom and push for promotion again.
Regardless of what some of the fans or critics say, we have had a great season. People say Fulham and Leeds have had great seasons but we have picked up more points than them.
We have accumulated more points than we did last season. We were the surprise package last season but now teams know what we are about. We have solidified our top-six Championship status.
It would be the best achievement I’ve had in football if we got promoted and I don’t say that lightly.
It was great to play at Wembley last year but that was the worst experience of my footballing career. It was amazing to play in front of my family but we lost and it was one of the worst days coming off the pitch. Hopefully this will be our year.
Interview: Dom Howson