Jordan Rhodes is not your traditional big target man, please remember that Neil Thompson.
Sheffield Wednesday slumped to a third consecutive league defeat on Wednesday evening, and the longest-serving Owls star was severely let down by his interim manager, having to feed off scraps throughout the duration of the match.
The 31-year-old, who stands at just 6 foot 1, was not deployed in a role that suited his strengths. As once outlined by former Scotland no.2 Mark McGee, Rhodes is a poacher – or as Owls legend John Sheridan once put it, a “fox in the box” similar to Gary Lineker.
Indeed, this has been an all too familiar story for the £10m signing since his arrival in 2017 – only last season, YorkshireLive reporter Dom Howson claimed that Wednesday had never utilised him correctly, he wrote: ‘For him to shine, he needs quality service from the wide positions.’
‘The trouble with Rhodes is he is a limited player outside of the 18-yard box. He is not physically strong, lightning-quick, skilful or the best at holding the ball up.’
This begs the question, just why did Thompson expect him to do all that – and more.
Throughout the 90 minutes, the visiting Owls could only muster up a total of two key passes, whilst only 10% of their 21 crossing attempts were successful, as per SofaScore.
Rhodes was evidently left to feed off scraps and poor service, so it’s no wonder he graded as one of their worst players on the night, pulling in a rating of 6.5 – seven other members of the Owls XI either matched or bettered this.
As a result of the diabolical support that simply isn’t suited to his game, the Scotsman struggled to win many of his battles – particularly in the air – where he won only three of 18 aerial duels, taking his total duels lost to 80% overall, via SofaScore.
The £35k-per-week high-earner was left mere a passenger as the Owls succumbed to defeat at the hands of Brentford, and the blame must lie with Thompson, who simply isn’t playing to Rhodes’ strengths, as evident above.
If the south Yorkshiremen are to stave off relegation, then finally playing a system around Rhodes could hold the keys to achieving that. The caretaker boss must act ahead of a crucial encounter with Luton on Saturday.