Sheffield Wednesday to bank on youth under Luhukay

Thorniley and Wildsmith are two of Wednesday's Academy graduates

Thorniley and Wildsmith are two of Wednesday's Academy graduates

SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY manager Jos Luhukay says he will continue to build his team around young players next season.

ESPN FC Editor Dale Johnson came up with a startling stat following Wednesday’s 5-1 win over Norwich in their final game of the season on Sunday.

Excluding goalkeepers, Luhukay, who took over as manager in January, had given 1,399 minutes to Wednesday Academy players in five months. In contrast, his predecessor Carlos Carvalhal had given just 24 minutes (13 minutes for George Hirst and 11 minutes for Jack Stobbs) to them in two and a half years.

When Luhukay took over on January 5th, he recalled Jordan Thorniley, 21, from a loan spell at Accrington and Sean Clare, also 21, from his loan at Gillingham. The duo have since made 16 appearances between them for the Owls.

Luhukay was confronted with a parlous financial situation when he arrived at the club. Wednesday’s wage bill for the year to May 2017 was £29.34m, when pension contributions and NI were taken into account, and the club made a loss of more than £20m.

According to Financial Fair Play rules, clubs are not allowed to lose more than £13m per season over a three-year period.

"It’s important for me that I look to our young Academy players," Luhukay said.

"We will look to young players who can develop also here with us, it’s what we will try to do. We must look for players at the age of 18 to 22, so that’s why we made the decision.”

When goalkeepers were taken into account (which means Academy graduate Joe Wildsmith is included), Carvalhal gave 1,843 minutes to Academy graduates in two and a half years, while Luhukay gave 3,098 minutes to Academy graduates in five months.

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