PRESS | Carvalhal looking to bounce back

PRESS | Carvalhal looking to bounce back

A betting man, woman or farmyard animal would have put money on the name Jérémy Hélan coming up at today’s press conference.

The midfielder’s decision to quit football and pursue a life more spiritual had been the topic of much debate, interest – and some idiocy –  on social media and the back pages in the past few days.

A recurring theme in the expressions of surprise was that at just 24, Hélan could have many more years of playing and earnings ahead of him.


So why walk away now?


Carvalhal feels this is only surprising to “the Occidental mentality,” arguing that our Western sensibilities just can’t cope with somebody turning their back on money and material possessions “to find peace with themselves.”

We won't be seeing Hélan again

We won’t be seeing Hélan again

He also revealed that Hélan had been “playing with the body but not in the head” for a considerable time before last weekend’s announcement.

The coach had tried to persuade he could pursue his religious path and be a footballer at the same time – comparing the situation to his own experience of combining a career on field with university studies off the pitch to prepare for the future.

But Hélan’s mind was made up.

So there we have it; a situation that has triggered some casual racism on twitter but also provoked some welcome reflection on the crazy priorities that surround football.

As Adam Reach said today, “football’s not everything.

“If he’s strongly devoted to his religion and that’s what he wants to follow then I wish him all the best. He’s only got one life…”

The assembled press seemed to think that was very well put.


Reach for the stars

Just one year younger than Hélan, Reach describes himself as “maybe not classed as a young prospect anymore…”

Like so many of Carvalhal’s signings, he’s found himself at a crossroads in his career and feels S6 is the best place for him to develop, improve and – whisper it – become a Premier League player.

Reach at today's conference

Reach at today’s conference

After promotion with Middlesbrough he’s disappointed not to have become a fixture in their first team but appreciates that making a mark in Boro’s squad, now strengthened by the likes of Victor Valdez and Negredo, would be tough.

When he does get back in the top tier – as he believes he can with Wednesday – he wants to be playing week in, week out not just 5 minutes here and there as a sub.

So that’s what Adam Reach wants.

What can Wednesday expect from their record signing?

Well for a young guy (I don’t care what he says, 23 is young), whatever Wednesday ask of him, he’s been there and done that already with Middlesbrough.

The strong similarities between Aitor Karanka’s coaching style and that of Carvalhal have eased his transition.

Like fellow summer signing David Jones, he’s experienced the euphoria of promotion.

He’s also experienced the gut wrenching disappointment of a play-off final defeat.

But perhaps the most valuable experience he brings right now is of digging in to recover from the Wembley hangover.

Middlesbrough had what Reach describes as a “sticky start” to their post-Wembley season.

Lee battles for possession at Brum

Lee battles for possession at Brum

To put that in context, by eight games in they’d amassed 17 points and were in second place; meanwhile Wednesday have 11 points and lie 14th.  Sticky?

As fans, we all know that a win over Forest on Saturday would see us leapfrog them in the table.

As the seasoned (did I mention he’s 23?) pro he is, Reach will have none of that talk.

He’s all ‘one game at a time’ and ‘too early to look at the tables.’

Last week Carvalhal flagged up the expectation that Wednesday could always score in the last minute of any game. It’s called tempting fate.

From a fan’s point of view, going one up relatively late against Birmingham was great.

Losing two goals even later… not so good. From the boss’s perspective the goals were “very strange” and against the run of play.

Carvalhal has to tread a fine line between showing the outside world he’s on top of selection and tactics while bolstering the confidence of his players.

Carlos: a few changes needed?

Carlos: a few changes needed?

So he’s not going to publicly call out Westwood for poor judgment, ask why we could only take one of many chances or query why Nuhiu hit the bar when it would have been easier to score.

He says “you can train 24 hours a day and in all the teams in the world there will be some individual mistakes, bad decisions of the referees, these things that are out of your control.”

One reflection is his players were so disappointed at conceding an equaliser they went on the attack, meaning that instead of protecting 1 point we lost all 3.

You can’t really fault the team for pressing on after the last minute mayhem just a few days earlier against Bristol City.

Against Birmingham “we lost because we tried to win” when he would have preferred the players to “act with the careful.” Good phrase.


Saturday’s opposition


Be careful at the back. Convert chances at the front.

Sounds pretty straightforward. Might Saturday be the day it all clicks into place?

Wednesday celebrate at Forest

Wednesday celebrate at Forest

Forest have been free scoring of late but Reach expects the game to be tight and tough in a Championship that is “arguably stronger than some of the top leagues in Europe.”

That’s Carvalhal’s expectation too.

On the back of last week’s stats rather than the result, we shouldn’t expect to see dramatic changes to tactics or personnel.

Hutchinson is back from suspension but when asked if his defensive qualities had been ‘missed’ last week the boss had a bit of fun at the media’s expense, “I didn’t miss Hutchinson.

“I miss my family, my dogs, my friends. I don’t miss my players!”

One thing he definitely won’t have missed was a midweek cup game.

Although being bundled out of the EFL Cup by Cambridge was disappointing at the time, the old saying about concentrating on the league has a ring of truth about it when you compare the Owls’ relaxed build-up to our visitors’ exertions in their 4-0 loss against Arsenal on Tuesday.

Philippe Montanier’s team have yet to keep a clean sheet this season.

That there Nicklas Bendtner has yet to score for them.

Hang on to this final thought from Carlos: “We are waiting not to create chances but to finish them.”

Could be tasty in a nail-biting kind of way.

OWLS ALIVE circliar yeller SPACE



Owls Alive
TWITTER: @OwlsAlive and @ABGalvin

Images – header: The Star; others: SWFC, Reach: Author

One Comment

  1. thanks for another great report Angela. All the more pleasurable to read it after a victory in the anticipated game! Good to hear intelligent and positive comments from Carlos and Adam Reach too.
    Jeremy Helan was one of my favourite players. I wish he could have found a way to combine his spiritual life with playing football, ideally for Wednesday. He’s left us in a good place with some great memories. Thank you and best wishes to Jeremy for the future.

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