Will Josh Onomah Make Barry Bannan An Even Better Player?

When I ask the question above, it is not meant to be comparable to the way that Jacob Butterfield made Bannan look like a better player.

Ever since Bannan’s return from injury he has lacked a strong midfield partner, and this is not a criticism of Joey Pelupessy or Adam Reach, who both have their own roles to fill; defensive midfielder and winger respectively. In fact, it is more down to the loss of Kieran Lee, as his long-term injuries have left Bannan with the task of being the only real creative influence in the centre of the park.

I think this partly explains why Forestieri was dropped in favour of Marco Matias, as he contributes across all areas of the pitch, and not just up front. He acts as another player in the middle of the pitch and although it isn’t his natural position, this change has clearly had positive results.

However, we can’t always rely on our forwards to the job of a midfielder, and this is where the young Josh Onomah comes in.

He may not have had the best time with Aston Villa last season, four goals and three assists in 33 games is hardly setting the league alight, but that shouldn’t deter Wednesday fans. If you’ve seen him play, you’ve seen his potential, and I’m not confident enough in my personal judgements to go against the opinion of Mauricio Pochettino.

A key component of the England U20 World Cup win, Onomah is strong, comfortable on the ball, and has a keen eye for some clever through balls. The forward-thinking midfielder could be more than a temporary solution for Kieran Lee’s injury woes, should he get past the inconsistency in performances he struggled with last year.

It’s important to remember that Kieran Lee may not be the same player we all remember, and Jos Luhukay will know what is needed for this team to progress. It is no coincidence that following some criticism of Wednesday’s style of play as being negative, Jos has brought in an attacking midfielder in Onomah and a ball-playing defender in Michael Hector.

This doesn’t mean that Onomah will immediately succeed, and expectations of him may need to be managed with patience (the story of our season), but he certainly has the assets and opportunity to grow into the player that Tottenham fans say he will be, and to become the perfect partner to lift some weight off Bannan’s shoulders.

Picture Credit: Sheffield Wednesday

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