There has been a lot of speculation recently surrounding Lewis McGugan’s role in the Sheffield Wednesday team. The signing of Fernando Forestieri may please McGugan and help his claims for a central-midfield position.
Forestieri comes in as a typical ‘number 10’, he plays in support of an out-and-out striker – a support striker if you will. If reports are to be believed, this is a position Owls boss Carlos Carvalhal has asked Lewis McGugan to play – even though the player does not see himself as that sort of player.
In an interview after signing Forestieri, Carvalhal said: “Forestieri will be very important for us. He plays behind the striker, between midfield and attack. He will give us a lot of quality and an option that is completely different because before we have absolutely no one to play in that position.”
He then went on to add how a player they had signed was asked to play there, but did not feel comfortable and disappointed even though he had played there before – this is thought to be Lewis McGugan.
When discussing the matter Carlos Carvalhal said: “I can`t talk with names but one player that we bring, we expected he can play in the second line because he played there before. But in the process we realise the player does not like to play there so we are a little disappointed in the situation.”
Does this mean the signing of Forestieri (who will surely start the majority of games) will give McGugan a chance to play in central-midfield, a position he is really comfortable in? Carvalhal’s further comments seem to suggest that the un-named player did try the position but did not impress in his quality there.
McGugan will always play on the front foot, that’s the sort of player he is – but maybe this is the first stage in him becoming a more conservative footballer. Since he first arrived at Hillsborough he has demonstrated qualities of a very good centre-midfielder, he has dictated games and changed the tempo whenever he chooses.
Maybe the signing of Fernando Forestieri will kill two birds with one stone – it brings in a quality centre-forward who feels comfortable there, and gives McGugan the chance to sit further back where he feels comfortable. Although it has to be said that before Forestieri’s signing McGugan had little competition in the ‘number 10’ role – dropping back into the centre of midfield means competing for places. He will have to impress over at least a few from Alex Lopez, Barry Bannan, Kieran Lee, Jose Semedo, Sam Hutchinson and Filipe Melo.
From that list we can see that Wednesday have four playful centre-midfidlers and three solid conservative midfielders – it’s hard to believe that Carvalhal will go for anything other than a mix of the two contrasting types. The competition for places is on.
Both of the players were signed from Watford on permanent deals this summer so should know each other’s game well. Forestieri arrived for around £3m while McGugan cost around £300k.
Forestieri seems to be a good signing for himself, Sheffield Wednesday and Lewis McGugan.