After breaking into the Sheffield Wednesday first team, young midfielder Alex Hunt has found himself down the pecking order at Hillsborough, and the club have a big decision to make on him this summer.
Given his lack of game-time since Garry Monk’s sacking – he has featured only four times this season – it would be easy for the Yorkshire giants to cast him off on his own, but Darren Moore’s appointment is perfect for situations like this.
As a young, progressive manager, a youngster caught in a career crossroads should be eager to learn under the 46-year-old.
The best-case scenario could be the Owls activating that option – if they stay up, loan him out. If they go down, get him involved regularly. He should be able to adapt far easier at League One level than in the Championship.
Hunt was close to leaving on loan in January but Wednesday were unable to secure a suitable replacement in time. Had that happened, then things may have been very different.
After making his debut last season, Monk waxed lyrical about the Hillsborough graduate, he told The Star: “For me personally I think he’s got a lot of potential,” before adding: “He’s training hard, he’s training well and he’s still got things he can get a bit better at, but he’s growing, he’s young and I want to encourage him. He’s a really good prospect.”
Indeed, many at the Yorkshire outfit spotted that potential from an early age. Hunt captained the under-18 side, and that culminated in the youngster being nominated for the Championship’s Apprentice of the Year award that season.
Perhaps Hunt is a leader in the making, which would suggest he’s capable of one day taking the armband from Barry Bannan, who has been a mentor to him in recent months – only bolstering such a claim.
“I’ve spoken to him and tried to give him advice and he’s on board with that,” said the Owls skipper. “He just needs to play games. I know he’s playing under-23s and that, keeping his fitness up.”
Strong, creative and exciting. That’s just three words used to describe Hunt by The Athletic. They also claim that the 20-year-old has been the ‘player to watch’ from the academy setup, as touted by Bannan, Monk and even former manager Steve Bruce.
“He’s a big part of the future,” Monk added.
Also a boyhood fan of the Owls, there would be nothing better than seeing Hunt emerge into the senior fold in the near future.
Wednesday chairman Dejphon Chansiri ought to sanction his option, and then worry about tying him down for the long-term later down the line.
In Hunt, Moore could have his perfect Bannan heir, and one capable of so much more development.
AND in other news, Sheffield Wednesday handed big injury boost this international break…