Alan Biggs at Large: Why criticism of Sheffield Wednesday winger could be counter-productive

He’s made 29 appearances out of a possible 30 for Sheffield Wednesday this season.

Wednesday, 15th January 2020, 3:00 pm
Adam Reach
Adam Reach

He survived Garry Monk’s New Year shake-up after three successive defeats to score the FA Cup winner at Brighton and figure in an outstanding Championship win at Leeds.

He can play right side, left side, in support of a striker or, if needs be, in midfield. Always willing to help wherever.

He is Adam Reach and it beats me that he apparently has so many critics.

The signs are that Monk is far from among them and has the former Middlesbrough winger as an integral part of his plans.This at a time of much-needed change when other senior long-serving players cannot be sure of their future at Hillsborough.

And let’s remember that Reach is only 26 (He turns 27 next month), and is nearly three years below the average age of the core group.

Yet somehow he is lumped in with the general gripes when Wednesday dip in performance.

All because - presumably - he has been around for most of a relentless, well-funded striving to escape the Championship.

He’s been at Hillsborough three-and-half years in fact, a major recruit for Carlos Carvalhal’s second season.

And at £5m he has been an excellent signing, who can deny that?

Ok, the worldy goals of early last season have dried up.

Who can score those consistently anyway?

Only two this season undersells his ability.

But for application and attitude, as well as much talent, this is a player who does not deserve the gripes that occasionally come his way.

I, for one, hope he earns more appreciation in this second half of a campaign that simply can’t be called, not least for off-field reasons.

Reach has not been at his absolute best but he never gives less than his best and that has clearly registered with his manager.

For that reason, Monk is right to keep this player at the forefront of his thinking for the future.

There are others who have demonstrated less commitment, or been less effective.

It is in those areas that the changes are more likely to take place amid a recruitment drive on the attacking front.

A story reached my ears, which I took to have a ring of truth, of a Premier League club being quoted £20m for Reach last summer.

Now that is - and was - too steep in my opinion. But £10-15m would still be realistic and I doubt Monk would be looking to trade in any case.

This is a player still approaching his peak and one Wednesday fans should be glad of, as I’m sure the majority are.

But seemingly he responds by nature to encouragement rather than criticism.

Steve Bruce, during his short tenure, had just one reservation about Reach - “he is too hard on himself.”

That being the case - and it’s testament to the dedicated pro he is - you wonder if some others are also being too hard on him ... and whether that is counter-productive.