Sheffield Wednesday: Language barrier stands in way of Filipe Melo

Filipe Melo
Filipe Melo

Filipe Melo could be set to come in from the cold for Wednesday at Blackpool this afternoon.

With Portuguese compatriot Jose Semedo ruled out of the trip with a foot injury, Melo could be set for at least a return to the Owls bench.

But head coach Stuart Gray says there is still progress to be made by the midfielder before he makes regular appearances in the side.

And that starts with his English skills.

“You want all your signings to hit the ground running but he’s got that bit of a language barrier at the moment,” Gray said.

“It’s been difficult for Filipe to come to this country.

“We’ve got him English lessons sorted so he’s improving.

“Football is a universal language but you do need the basics.

“Left shoulder, right shoulder, man on, close him down – you need to know that.

“He’s learning but he needs to learn quicker.

“Sometimes by the time the lads translate something from their language to English or visa versa when they’re out on the pitch, the moment has gone.”

In the seven games which Wednesday have played since Melo received his international clearance, the 25-year-old has only featured on the team sheet twice, both as a substitute and only once leading to time on the pitch.

Social media chatter has inevitably arisen suggesting Gray has not been impressed with the midfielder since his arrival.

But he insists that could not be further from the truth.

He said: “When he goes out on the training pitch, he’s a good footballer. He wins the ball, gives it. The boy’s got talent.

“He’s a bit in that Jose Semedo roll.

“We need to get him up to speed, more used to the high intensity of the game.

“And when he gets that opportunity, he’s got to grasp it.”

Gray believes Melo can take heart from the progress that Claude Dielna has made since his arrival at the club.

Frenchman Dielna spoke very little English when he was signed but has improved his language skills over the last six months.

Gray said: “Claude took that bit of time to settle but his English has come along a lot.

“I don’t need to use Jeremy Helan to translate as much now.

“He understands my dour Yorkshire accent.

“You see top teams pay £20million for players and sometimes find it difficult to settle.

“Filipe just needs to bide his time and I’m sure it’ll come.”

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