SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY head coach Carlos Carvalhal believes that talisman forward Fernando Forestieri can become an Owls legend – with the help of his team-mates.
The former Watford attacker arrived in a £3m deal at the end of the summer, following earlier interest from Leeds United, and the big outlay is already looking like money well spent.
Forestieri has hit doubles in his last two home outings, against Wolves and Birmingham City, and has already reached double figures in a season for the first time in his career.
Forestieri’s attacking guile was badly missed in the first half of Monday night’s televised game at Middlesbrough when he was rested after his exertions 48 hours earlier against Birmingham, with the 25-year-old pepping up Wednesday significantly when he entered the fray at the interval, underlining his importance to the team.
Carvalhal told The Yorkshire Post: “I believe he is a better player now than in the past. He is one of the best players in the competition, I’m absolutely sure.
“More than scoring goals, he is a team worker and he is a very, very important player.
“To be a legend, he must do his work as an individual and the team must do something special.
“I think he is better than I first thought and he is a complete player.”
Despite being just outside of the top six – they sit four points behind Ipswich Town, who currently occupy the final play-off place – the Owls comfortably remain one of the most consistent sides in the division heading into 2016.
Since losing 3-1 at Burnley on September 12 – which saw them drop to 19th place – the Owls have seen their colours lowered just three times in 18 matches, to leave them seventh in the table.
Carvalhal is confident that the gradual improvement will continue in the second half of the season, with Wednesday also looking at strengthening during the January window to boost their play-off bid.
Carvalhal, whose side start the new year at Fulham tomorrow, added: “I think we can do better than in the first half of the season.
“In the first seven games of the season we were not complete as a team with a new coach and new ideas and we were bringing in players.
“After the Burnley match, we have felt more complete and have done better and better.
“I believe that in the second half (of the season), we will be ready and if we continue to do what we have been doing, we will be in a very good position.”