Tony Pulis has been employed by Sheffield Wednesday with one brief in mind – save out Championship status. He’s not in the luxurious position to play expansive football; it’s ground-out results that are needed.
Fans will largely accept that, the bigger picture being second-tier football next season. However, after a 2-1 defeat at the hands of South Yorkshire rivals Barnsley, Pulis had some very harsh words for his side to listen to.
— Joe Crann (@YesWeCrann) December 12, 2020
Post-match damning words for Owls squad to listen to
There was no other way to take Tony Pulis’ words other than the way in which they were intended – as criticism.
Criticising the imbalance in the squad, Pulis didn’t hold back. Shooting from the hip, he said: “Out of all the clubs I’ve managed it’s probably as most disjointed a group as I’ve managed.”
As difficult as that might be to listen to for a squad, it is part of something else that Pulis said that does not augur well for one player in particular.
Pulis criticism after Barnsley defeat surely damns one player
Pulis elaborated on the above by laying bare his thoughts of the squad as an indicator to why the Owls problems persist. On what he has at his disposal, Pulis states:
“And if you look at it, there’s six centre-halves; I don’t think we’ve got a left-back. We’ve got five 10s and really not a centre-forward.”
It’s that final utterance that damns one player – Jordan Rhodes. Whilst he might not have directed it at Rhodes on purpose, it does indicate that Pulis might not see him as th eanswer to Sheffield Wednesday’s problems.
£10.5m but not the answer to what the Owls need
Rhodes cost Sheffield Wednesday £10.5m when they bought him from Middlesbrough at the start of July 2017. He’d moved from Blackburn to the Teessiders for around that amount in February 2016.
In total, the former Scotland international has made 86 appearances for the Owls, getting on the scoresheet 14 times. Whilst respectable, it doesn’t even begin to touch the level of productivity that he achieved at both Huddersfield Town and Blackburn Rovers.
He’s featured 10 times for Wednesday this season, scoring just one goal – this came in a 2-0 opening day victory against Cardiff. Just looking at that stat, and at his general output of late, many Sheffield Wednesday fans don’t need Pulis to tell them that they don’t really have a centre-forward.