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The best Sheffield Wednesday XI since the Millennium – Left-backs



Sheffield Wednesday have seen a very turbulent two decades since the turn of the millennium, ranging from stint in the Premier League down to League One.

During Wednesday’s history, there have been an awful lot of talented players come through the doors, with the majority of them coming in before the year 2000, when the club enjoyed a very successful decade in the 1990s.

The likes of Chris Waddle, Paulo Di Canio and Roland Nilsson, among others, were some of the high-profile names to make a lasting impression at Hillsborough. However, as their finances took a hit, so did their top-flight status and the quality of their squad.

Relegations to the Championship and League One forced the Owls into losing a lot of key players and the standard dropped an awful lot from the previous decade.

They have managed to steady the ship somewhat by consolidating their place in the Championship after promotion and Dejphon Chansiri’s aim as owner is to now go one step further and establish the club as perennial promotion contenders, after two play-off campaigns in 2015/16 and 2016/17.

Here, we take a look at four of the best left-backs to wear Wednesday colours since the turn of the millennium…

Paul Heckingbttom

Now a manager that has spent time with two of Wednesday’s local rivals, Barnsley and Leeds United, Heckingbottom was actually a very dependable member of their squad during his time there.

Joining whilst the club were in League One, Heckingbottom’s consistency in the role saw him nail down a starting berth and rack up an impressive 41 appearances in his first season, with four goals lifting the side back into the Championship via the play-offs.

Injuries stopped him from really building up a lengthy spell at Hillsborough but his efforts between 2004 and 2006 deserve recognition.

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Tommy Spurr

The Leeds-born left-back spent six years with the Owls at the start of his career as they teetered between the second and third tiers.

Spurr made his debut against Reading in April 2006 and earned the Man of the Match prize for his impressive start to life at Hillsborough. His efforts at left-back early in his career saw interest grow in him but the club stood firm and knocked back offers from QPR for his services, citing him as a ‘top asset in the playing squad’.

His solid performances saw him don the captain’s armband towards the back end of his time at Hillsborough, just before the club were once again relegated to League One.

Despite falling out of favour with new manager Gary Megson, he is still remembered positively by the Wednesday faithful after a great spell with the club.

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The best Sheffield Wednesday XI since the Millennium - Left-backs

Paul Heckingbottom

Paul Heckingbottom

Tommy Spurr

Tommy Spurr

Joe Mattock

Joe Mattock

Reda Johnson

Reda Johnson

Joe Mattock

An England youth international, Mattock arrived at Hillsborough back in 2012 as the club arrived back in the Championship to hopefully bookend their turbulent yo-yoing between the two divisions.

The Owls beat off stiff competition to sign him and it paid dividends for them, despite him only three seasons with the club.

He managed 66 appearances for the club across those three years and was very solid in his time with the club, unlucky to see his contract not renewed at the end of the 2014/15 season when Carlos Carvalhal’s overhaul began.

Reda Johnson

The Benin international was a very dependable player for the Owls around a similar time as Mattock, with Johnson featuring between 2011 and 2014.

A key part of the defence as they clinched promotion to the Championship, the 6ft3in defender had an eye for goal with 19 goals and six assists in his 88 appearances for Wednesday.

While he often featured at centre-back too, there was strong competition for places through the middle so he had to move out to the left, which didn’t really have a detrimental impact on his performances.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: The best Sheffield Wednesday XI since the Millennium – Left-backs

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