Sheffield Wednesday: Gray defends decision to leave out Melo

Filipe Melo
Filipe Melo

Head coach Stuart Gray insists new signing Filipe Melo is still adapting to life in England.

There were some eyebrows raised at Gray’s decision to omit the midfielder from his match-day squad against Brighton and Hove Albion last weekend.

But Owls boss Gray stands by his call to leave Melo out, claiming the 25-year-old needs to be given more time to adjust to his new surroundings.

“We are having to gradually bed in Melo,” he told The Star. “His English is not the best at the moment. You are going to find it difficult as a foreign player if you move to a new country and don’t speak the language.

“Against Brighton, I felt we had enough cover in that midfield area so decided that I just wanted Melo to watch the game.”

Melo, recruited for an undisclosed fee on transfer deadline day from Portugese outfit Moreirenses, made his Owls debut as a second-half substitute in their 2-1 defeat at Ipswich Town last week. He could comeback into Gray’s thoughts for Saturday’s at high-flying Derby County.

Wednesday are boosted by the news that Will Keane has not damaged his medial knee ligaments. It was feared the striker, on loan from Manchester United until the end of the season, was set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines after suffering an injury at the end of the first half against Brighton. Keane left Hillsborough in a knee brace but the knock settled down and the 22-year-old, ultimately, did not require a scan and resumed first-team training on Tuesday.

“It’s great news for Will and us that he’s okay as it didn’t look good after the game,” said Gray.

READ MORE: Click here for all the latest news from Hillsborough