Following Xisco Munoz’s recent appointment as manager of Sheffield Wednesday, tying down the future of exciting prospect Joey Phuthi would prove to be a brilliant indication of the Owls’ intentions this season.
It was recently revealed that the youngster was in talks with the club over a professional contract, as reported by the Star.
The 18-year-old attacker has drawn rave reviews following his impressive performances for Wednesday’s youth set-ups, and bedding him into the first team squad before the club’s warm weather camp in Spain would indicate a refreshing pathway into the senior squad from the academy.
Andy Holdsworth, who is the Professional Development Phase manager for the Owls, stated that Phuthi was ‘always a threat because he is dynamic and quick’. That being said, the teenager could look to make his mark over pre-season and push himself into the first team frame under Munoz, who currently has a threadbare squad to select from.
That said, Wednesday have been linked with a move for free agent goalkeeper Axel Werner, so a new face could be arriving soon.
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Wednesday have just four recognised out-and-out attackers currently within their ranks. 31-year-old Michael Smith and 34-year-old Lee Gregory make up half of the quartet, with Callum Patterson and Malik Wilks completing the set. So Phuthi’s injection of pace and youth could genuinely benefit the forward line should he be given the chance.
The latest academy success story would be Liam Palmer, the 31-year-old who is still with the Owls following his debut in 2010. Wednesday have proved to be a tricky team to break into from the club’s youth set-ups, so a showing of faith from Munoz towards Phuthi could be a strong sign for what the future holds. Possibly breaking down the barriers that previously disrupted the youngsters’ route into the first team.
Could Phuthi step up at Sheffield Wednesday?
Having stepped up from the Under-18s to the Under-21s last season, there is evidence to suggest that the Zimbabwe-born talent is capable of stepping up again this campaign.
It would no doubt be a boost for the Sheffield Wednesday faithful to see a homegrown talent like Phuthi break into the fold. It would also be inspiring for other academy stars such as Sean Fusire, Adam Alimi-Adetoro, Favour Onukwuli and Pierce Charles to see that the new manager is ready to put his trust in the youth and give them the chance should they deserve it.
The Owls may just have a future star on their hands.