Sheffield Wednesday: Carvalhal heaps praise on Owls award nominee

Tom Lees
Tom Lees

Award nominee Tom Lees has blossomed into one of the best defenders outside of the Premier League, according to Owls chief Carlos Carvalhal.

The centre-half has produced a string of outstanding performances, leading to him being nominated for the Championship’s Player of the Month award for March. Lees was pipped to the prize by Burnley striker Sam Vokes.

Carvalhal told The Star: “I don’t agree with this kind of prize; football is a collective game. But of course our players can win these awards, I am very happy.

“I prefer my players win the individual prizes, than other team’s players.

“Is it positive? To me I don’t put much importance on it, because it’s not tennis, it’s football.”

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While Wednesday have earned rave reviews for their flamboyant, attractive style of play, Carvalhal has built on the defensive foundations laid by Stuart Gray last season.

Lees has marshalled their backline superbly, with the Owls boasting the joint fourth meanest defence in the division. Only Burnley, Middlesbrough and Hull City have shipped in fewer goals than Carvalhal’s charges, who have accumulated 15 clean sheets.

“Tom is a machine, like a Swiss watch, in everything that he does,” he said. “What we like in defenders is don’t commit many mistakes.

“Tom is one of the players who will make very few mistakes during a season. He is a player who also understands how we prepare our team to defend.”

The Owls will check on the fitness of Glenn Loovens today as they gear up for tomorrow’s clash . The skipper limped off against Blackburn Rovers in midweek due to an ankle injury.

Sam Hutchinson (fever) is unlikely to be risked.

“Sam lacks energy,” said Carvalhal. “Let’s see soon if he will be back.

“He doesn’t have a fever anymore. He is collecting energy now as he was ill with a fever for 10-12 days with a high fever so his body was weak. Now he is recovering and we are analysing him day by day.”

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