Ex-Sheffield Wednesday midfielder Carlton Palmer believes Sam Hutchinson won’t be a long-term signing for the Owls despite becoming a fan favourite at Hillsborough, speaking in an interview with This is Futbol.
The 32-year-old centre-back, who can also operate in defensive midfield, re-joined the current third-tier side in January after having a short spell at Cypriot side Pafos following his initial release from Wednesday in the summer of 2020.
Initially joining on loan from Chelsea in February 2014, after battling against knee injuries which forced him to retire earlier in his career, this temporary spell was made permanent that summer on a free transfer after his release from the Premier League giant.
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Although he was a semi-regular player for the Owls during his first spell in South Yorkshire, injuries proved to be a major hindrance throughout his six years there and proved to be a barrier to his progression after being touted as a very promising player at Stamford Bridge.
But despite spending a short period of time on the sidelines after being forced off against Fleetwood Town last month, he has appeared regularly for the League One outfit since his return to Hillsborough, even though he was unable to keep them afloat in the second tier at the end of last season.
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Carlton Palmer believes the third tier is probably his level though – and said to This is Futbol: “I know Sam is a fans’ favourite, he’s 110% and he gives everything for Sheffield Wednesday.
“He was let go from the club and then brought back because of his versatility. In this league, he can play a variety of different positions.
“For me I think he’s a player that you have to help get you out of this division. I don’t see him as one that you sign up for three or four years and he finishes his career there, you know he struggled in the Championship.”
It’s sad to see this verdict on a player who had such high potential. If it wasn’t for his knee injuries, he could have easily fulfilled his potential but these setbacks continued to disrupt any sort of momentum he could build.
But this is an informed verdict from Palmer after seeing the 32-year-old remain fit for the most part throughout this calendar year. You have to wonder whether he plays in a certain way to avoid these injuries – and perhaps that’s the reason why he’s League One quality in the former Wednesday player’s eyes.
In an interview with the Sheffield Star this month, he stated his need to miss some training sessions and games because of the demand on his body, so you could argue he’s never been able to showcase his true potential because of this.
He can definitely get the Owls back to the Championship with his quality and versatility though. His ability to play at centre-back and in central midfield can only be a good thing as injuries and suspensions start to take their toll throughout the season – but the key will be keeping him fit.
From his interview with The Star, it seems as though manager Darren Moore has been managing him well, so it would be no surprise to see him remain fit for the remainder of the 2021/22 campaign.