Interim Sheffield Wednesday manager Lee Bullen has warned that the club must look to manage Kieran Lee’s workload, following the midfielder’s impressive start to the season.
Prior to the start of this campaign, Lee had made a total of just 17 appearances over the past two years but has started both of The Owls league games since Championship football returned at the start of August, with Wednesday picking up wins over Reading and Barnsley to lead the early standings in the division.
Analysing Lee’s performances so far this season, and his all-round importance to the side, Bullen told the Sheffield Star: “Even around the 30-year-old age, he has probably covered more miles than anybody else on the football pitch.
“He is just one of these players that you don’t notice for 65 to 70 minutes and then you suddenly realise he is clearing it off the line in one box and getting on the end of something in the opposition’s box.”
Despite his evident value to his side however, Bullen appears keen to be careful with regards to Lee’s game time following his issues with injury, as he went onto explain: “Listen, he is a coach’s dream but we have to manage him right, we have to be careful.
“We have to remember he has been out a long time and he is not going to play every game.”
Assessing his midfield options, Bullen feels he has more than enough at his disposal to help manage the workload on Lee, as he claimed: “Luckily enough our transfer window went very well and we have strength in depth for a lot of positions and that quality now in the midfield area, even without Barry Bannan.”
I think this is the right move from Bullen.
Having just come back from so long out through injury, Lee’s fitness is something that Wednesday have to be careful with, as they are not going to want to lose him to another extended spell on the sidelines.
You feel that keeping him out of the action at times may therefore be the right thing for Wednesday to do, even if it is something the player himself is likely to be frustrated by.
That Wednesday have enough midfielders available to allow them to manage Lee’s game time is arguably testament to the business they did late in the summer transfer window, with Massimo Luongo and Jacob Murphy among those to join the club on deadline day, adding to their options in that area of the pitch in the process.