Bolton Wanderers manager Ian Evatt has suggested that Kieran Lee was left feeling let down by the Owls over the way he exited the club in the summer of 2020.
At the start of last season, then Sheffield Wednesday manager Garry Monk made the decision to not offer Lee the chance to remain at Hillsborough and as a result the midfielder’s eight-season stay with the Owls was brought to an end.
Lee had been a crucial player at Hillsborough during his lengthy spell with Sheffield Wednesday, injury periods aside, and he managed to make over 200 appearances in all competitions for the Owls and scored 22 goals in that time.
However, following his release by Sheffield Wednesday, Lee remained without a club for the first half of last season until he went on an initial trial to Bolton. That proved to be a success for the midfielder and he joined the Trotters permanently in January and played a pivotal role in helping them earn promotion.
So far this term, Lee has managed to make nine appearances in League One for the Trotters and he has managed to score two goals and provide three assists for Evatt’s side.
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Speaking to the Manchester Evening News ahead of Botlton’s clash with Sheffield Wednesday, Evatt revealed that he thinks Lee would have been let down by how his time with the Owls ended.
He said: “He had no point to prove to me when he came here, but I think he probably did to Sheffield Wednesday. I think if you asked him honestly he’d say he felt let down by them that they didn’t keep him and that he had a lot more to offer.
“Not having a club from August to January the pressure was on him to get somewhere and perform. He has done that, and it’s fortunate for us that we managed to get him.
“With any recruitment, there is risk and reward, and you try and limit the risk, but what we pay now and what we are able to pay, would we be able to get Kieran Lee now? Probably not.
“But everything happens for a reason and we were very fortunate to find ourselves in a position to recruit someone like Kieran, who has been absolutely fantastic, long may it continue.”
It would be fully understandable if Lee did harbour feelings like Evatt describes here towards the Owls after the decision was taken to release him after eight seasons with the club at the beginning of the 2020/21 season.
It was a decision that looks ever more like an oversight considering that the Owls went on to suffer relegation back down to the League One, while Lee was an excellent performer for Bolton and helped them achieve promotion to the third tier with a string of impressive performances.
Lee is showing that he is a class act at League One level this season with his performances for Bolton and it would not be a surprise to see him have a strong game against the Owls this afternoon.
Sheffield Wednesday could well regret their decision even more to release him if he comes back to haunt them today. However, he is surely a player that deserves the acknowledgement from supporters of the Owls given the service he gave the club in his time with them.