Sheffield Wednesday: Why hard-working Lee is Owls’ ‘unsung hero’

Owls midfielder Kieran Lee
Owls midfielder Kieran Lee

There are some footballers who get more recognition than others.

For Sheffield Wednesday, Keiren Westwood and Tom Lees have, quite rightly, hogged the headlines after playing vital roles in tightening up their backline during the 2014/15 season.

In recent weeks, Lewis McGugan has stood out, notching three goals in his last five starts, including the decisive strike at Blackpool last weekend.

However, Owls boss Stuart Gray has today singled out Kieran Lee for praise following the team’s recent revival.

A week ago, Gray omitted the 26-year-old from the starting line-up at home to Blackburn Rovers following a below-par showing against Middlesbrough. Lee was an unused substitute as the Owls slipped up again at Hillsborough.

But the former Manchester United youngster was handed a first-team recall versus Blackpool and, on a poor playing surface, demonstrated his versatility by doing a steady job on the right hand side of midfield before moving into the centre after a fresh injury setback for Sam Hutchinson.

Gray has hailed Lee’s contribution in their 1-0 win over the bottom club, outlining the attributes the Stalybridge-born player brings to his midfield engine room.

“Kieran’s reading of the game is excellent,” he told The Star. “He’s one of those unsung heroes.

“He came to Sheffield Wednesday as a right-back but then suddenly I just felt last season we should push him further forward because he’s got a good habit of passing to a teammate, getting control of the ball and not giving it away.

“If Kieran is not scoring a goal, people might think ‘what’s he doing’ but his running stats are unbelievable. He really does put the miles in on the pitch. Like the rest of the team at Blackpool, he put in an unbelievable shift.”

At the beginning of the campaign, Gray ordered Lee to boost his goal haul. So far, he has answered his boss’s call, registering three goals in 25 appearances. All of his strikes have come on the road at Blackburn Rovers, Nottingham Forest and Ipswich Town.

Gray added: “Kieran has definitely got forward more this season and I’m pleased he has chipped in with a couple of goals.”

Wednesday have sold-out their 1,210 ticket allocation for the trip to neighbours Rotherham United on Saturday, March 21.