Which Sheffield Wednesday academy players have a promising career in football?

The Owls have some brilliant young prospects at their disposal, ranging from now first team midfielder Alex Hunt to academy finisher Preslav Borukov.

Former academy journalist George Smith helps emphasise these prodigy talents by discussing which players will go on to have successful careers and which may stick it out with Sheffield Wednesday.

George Smith

Talking about which players will succeed in their careers, George said: “For me, Alex Hunt has to be the pick of the bunch.

“I have watched Hunt develop over the years and I have been very encouraged by the qualities he already has.

“He was given a first team debut against Sunderland in the first round of the League Cup in August 2018, however it only lasted 45 minutes and I think the occasion was just a little but too much for him.

Photo by Isaac Parkin

“He was then given a chance to impress against Manchester City in the FA Cup last month and he looked he could be ready to stake a claim for the first team, he looked very good when he came off the bench that evening”

George also went into detail about the attributes of midfield gems Conor Grant and Liam Shaw and how he believes they deserve a shot at first team football, adding: “I think both players have the necessary qualities to get into the first team at some stage.

Photo by Isaac Parkin

They both appear very calm and collected on the ball and are willing to make runs forward.

Both of them have demonstrated the ability to chip in with goals too, the signs are promising but they both still have a long way to go”

Liam Shaw was named on the bench last season against Yorkshire rivals Leeds United in September 2018 but didn’t make a first appearance, whilst Conor Grant is yet to register in the 18 of a matchday squad.

Photo by Isaac Parkin

On the aspect of making first team debuts, George mentioned three players, previously mentioned Conor Grant and Liam Shaw, as well as target man forward Preslav Borukov.

He is a big fan of the Bulgarian forward, adding “Preslav Borukov is certainly a player I want to see get a first team opportunity, especially as Wednesday are set to go undergo a transformation in the attacking department, with only Jordan Rhodes out of contract from the current crop of strikers”

Borukov is a six-foot-two striker who is a great presence in the air and uses his strength to bully defenders, but also has phenomenal movement in and around the penalty area, contributing to many goals in his time at Sheffield Wednesday’s development squad.

Photo by Isaac Parkin

Irish midfielder Conor Grant appears to be a favourite among Owls supporters who have watched Wednesday’s under-23s, myself included.

George is also a huge fan of the Owls playmaker, when asked about him getting first team experience, he stated: “Conor Grant is one of the most obvious choices, he has a huge amount of potential but you do not want to blood these youngsters into the squad too soon as they can suffer from that”

Some of the previous Owls academy graduates have gone on to succeed, while others struggled in the first team and now found themselves in the lower leagues.

Left-back Matt Penney has spent the season out on loan to Jos Luhukay’s St Pauli out in Germany, scoring one and contributing three assists in 12 games in Bundesliga 2, Germany’s second tier of football.

On the other hand, Jordan Thorniley and Ashley Baker are now playing for Blackpool and Newport County respectively.

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