This article is part of Football League World’s ‘Comment’ series, this content strand is where the author of the article issues their personal opinion on the topic at hand…
Of course, one game is always going to be way too early to judge definitively whether or not a manager is going to be a success at a football club, but for Garry Monk and Sheffield Wednesday, the early signs in that respect are certainly promising.
Sunday’s 2-0 win away at Yorkshire rivals Huddersfield Town, courtesy of headers from Steven Fletcher and Sam Winnall, ensured it was a perfect start to life as Owls boss for Monk, and speaking after the game, it does seem as though the 40-year-old is expecting big things from his new club.
Discussing his aims for the campaign in a post-match interview with Sky Sports, Monk admitted that he believes his side can compete for promotion, and identifying part of the reason for that, the new Wednesday boss appears to have highlighted just how important the foundations that have been laid for him at Hillsborough over the summer will be going forward.
During that interview, Monk discussed what he described as the ‘nucleus’ of the Wednesday squad as part of the reason for those expectations, pointing to their past challenges for promotion as justification for the belief that they can mount a similar challenge this season.
Interestingly, however, it seems that that nucleus may not have been available to Monk now, had it not been for actions taken by those behind the scenes at the club during the offseason.
Over the course of the summer, Wednesday were able to complete new deals for goalkeeper Keiren Westwood, full-back Liam Palmer and midfielder Keiran Lee, securing the services of the trio until the end of the season at the very least.
Between them, those three players have a combined experience of around 20 years and almost 600 appearances for the club, meaning that, without them, that nucleus spoken about by Monk would have been much weaker than it actually is.
Keeping those players at the club, therefore, offers a significant boost to Monk, in terms of the presence they hold both on and off the pitch at Hillsborough and the insight they will be able to offer as the club looks to challenge for a long-awaited return to the Premier League.
Indeed, with Monk later describing Westwood as one of if not the best goalkeepers in the Championship right now, it certainly seems as though those running the club recently have done him a huge favour with the contracts they ensured were signed over the summer.
Considering that was done amongst the backdrop of Monk’s predecessor Steve Bruce’s controversial departure to Newcastle, and while bringing in no fewer than seven new senior players on top of that, there can be no disputing the quality of the work done behind the scenes at the club this summer.
If Sheffield Wednesday do indeed win promotion to the promised land of the Premier League under Monk, then the Owls boss will undoubtedly deserve all the credit he gets.
Given the work that appears to have gone into building the squad that is now available to him prior to his arrival, he won’t be the only one who should feel they are entitled to such praise.
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